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GE Aviation to Create 250 Jobs at New Mississippi Aircraft Components Plant; GE Healthcare to Move X-Ray Business Headquarters to China

General Electric (GE) Aviation has announced it will invest $56 million to build a new 300,000-sq.-ft. facility in Ellisville, MS, and create 250 jobs within the next five years. The plant is expected to open in 2013. Like its existing 300,000-sq.-ft. aviation factory opened in Batesville, MS, in 2008, this new plant will manufacture advanced composite components for aircraft engines and systems.

The Ellisville facility's new high-tech manufacturing jobs will come on top of Batesville's growing roster of 300 employees. GE Aviation expects to invest $150 million in the two locations by the end of the decade.

Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour said GE Aviation's decision to expand in his state and build this new facility "speaks volumes about the company's ongoing confidence in Mississippi's business climate, in our research capabilities and in our skilled workforce."

Evendale, OH-based GE Aviation is a subsidiary of the GE conglomerate, and has more than 30 locations across the U.S. The company is the world's top supplier of aircraft engines, and makes engines for the majority of commercial aircraft. At the recent Paris Air Show, it announced (with its joint venture firms) new engine and service orders totaling $27 billion.

General Electric's American manufacturing operations have been doing well and fueling expansion activities; most recently in New York, Texas, Ohio and Pennsylvania. In the last 18 months, GE has announced the creation of nearly 8,000 new high-tech manufacturing jobs.

GE's Chief Executive, Jeffrey Immelt, serves as head of one of President Obama's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, a group of advisers tapped for advice on how to retain/create jobs in America-not overseas. Now that situation has taken on a darkly ironic twist as GE Healthcare recently announced it will move the headquarters of its 115-year-old X-ray business Waukesha, WI, to Beijing, China, to tap that nation's giant, growing healthcare market. This will be GE's first business unit headquartered in China.

Company officials said while no one at the Wisconsin X-ray facility will lose their job or be transferred, a few of its top executives will be transferred to the Beijing locale. There plans already are underway to hire 65 new engineers and support staff. "Over the next five years, China will be GE Healthcare's most important growth market," said Rachel Duan, president and chief executive officer for GE's China unit in Beijing.

GE has stated this headquarters move is part of a broader parent-company plan to invest nearly $2 billion throughout China, and includes establishing a half dozen "customer innovation and development centers."

Readers may recall the GE paid no income taxes last year, although it earned $14.2 billion in profits in 2010. Also, as the company's GE Capital subsidiary lost money during the economic meltdown, legal loopholes allowed the parent company to secure a $3.2 billion tax benefit.

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