The US economy could be compared to the nation's downturn in the 1970s and if it worsens would best be compared to the Great Depression, said General Electric chief executive Jeffrey Immelt on Thursday.

We're at least to 1974-75. Once you break through '74-'75, you don't stop 'til you get to 1929. Unlike other downturns that I've been a part of, this one is faced with limited liquidity. If liquidity exists, it's not coming back readily. That's why the government's role in this cycle is so gosh-darned important, he said at a Wall Street Journal Executive Breakfast event in New York reported Reuters.

He was asked if he would call the current crisis a recession or a depression. Immelt joked that he would have to check to his college economics textbook to say precisely, but added it is one of those.

Immelt on Friday was named to President Barack Obama's Economic Advisory Board along with other executives and business leaders. The Board's work, led by former Federal Reserve Chief Paul Volcker, will be to be a sounding board for President Obama as he seeks solutions to the economic crisis.