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The Associated Press February 19, 2010, 6:30PM ET

GE's work force fell by 6 percent in 2009

General Electric's overall work force fell by about 6 percent worldwide as it struggled to deal with the deep recession and financial crisis, company regulatory filings out today reveal.

GE's annual report shows the company reduced its employee head count by about 19,000 jobs to 304,000 workers. It's the second year in a row that jobs have fallen at one of the world's largest companies after several years of job growth earlier in the decade.

A company spokeswoman says much of the reductions came from jobs left unfilled after retirements or other voluntary separations. But a large portion came from layoffs.

Biggest hit was the company's GE Capital lending unit, which lost about 25 percent of its work force.

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