General Electric ( GE) plans to cut costs next year as it confronts the global economic slowdown, according to a published media report.Jeffrey Immelt, the company's chairman and CEO, said Friday that costs across the board will be lower in 2009 than in 2008, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal. The executive said employment would be lower, although he declined to offer numbers or percentages, according to the report. He made his comments in an interview. GE has suffered in the current financial crisis, and its finance unit has been particularly hard hit, the report noted. Last month, the company said it planned to scale back that unit. But Immelt said in the interview that GE would continue to make loans in areas like restaurant franchises and companies under bankruptcy protection, the report said. GE's shares finished Friday down 97 cents at $17.83, their lowest level in more than a decade, the report noted.