Jeffrey Immelt, the outgoing CEO of General Electric Co (GE) - Get Report , ­­­­­said the U.S. tax code and export negligence have "made the country less about manufacturing each and every day" at a New York Economic Club event Thursday night. 

These factors, paired with meager investment and sub-par education, have led to a lack of manufacturing jobs and weighed on productivity.

Improving investment and education "really does support higher wages," Immelt said. But finding those high wages in the manufacturing jobs the country needs is difficult.

"Cheap labor worked in 1992, but that's not going to work in 2017," Immelt said.

Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama both tried to find the path to a manufacturing job that pays $30 per hour, but Immelt said they each had one basic issue: "Neither one of them had been in a factory."

GE's shares rose 0.3% to $27.62 early Friday afternoon.

General Electric is a holding in Jim Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS Charitable Trust Portfolio. Want to be alerted before Cramer buys or sells GE? Learn more now.

Visit here for the latest business headlines.

Don't miss these top stories from TheStreet: