(Updates with pension underfunding in fourth paragraph.)
Feb. 24 (Bloomberg) -- General Electric Co.’s worldwide workforce grew by 14,000 employees last year, its first increase since 2007.
Employment rose about 4.9 percent to about 301,000 workers at the end of 2011 from 287,000 a year earlier when the company still included NBC Universal employees, according to a regulatory filing today. Fairfield, Connecticut-based GE’s workforce last expanded in 2007, when its workforce grew 2.5 percent to 327,000.
The U.S. payroll increased by 10,000 people to 131,000, not including 14,000 mostly U.S. workers at NBC, in which the company sold a majority stake to cable provider Comcast Corp. On the same basis, GE’s overseas workforce rose 12 percent to 170,000.
GE’s pension plan was underfunded by $13.2 billion at the end of last year compared with $2.8 billion in 2010, according to the filing. The company plans to add about $1 billion to the plan this year, its first contribution since 1987, and expects to contribute about $2.1 billion in 2013.
Starting this year, employees are offered a defined- contribution retirement plan rather than the traditional pension program, GE said.
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