General Electric Co believes that investment by businesses, rather than consumer spending, will drive the U.S. economy out of its worst downturn since the Great Depression, its top executive said on Wednesday.

This recovery, unlike previous recoveries, is going to have a little bit of the consumer, but it's going to have to have a lot more business investment, Chief Executive Jeff Immelt said. Typically, in a recovery, the consumer might be 70 percent of the tail wind, if you will; and I just don't think the consumer is going to be as much.

The largest U.S. conglomerate expects to add jobs in the United States over the next few months and plans to raise its dividend in line with earnings growth, Immelt told reporters ahead of the company's annual meeting with shareholders.

GE shareholders are convening in Houston, where the company has substantial operations related to the oil and natural gas industry.

(Reporting by Scott Malone, editing by Gerald E. McCormick)