But earlier this month, GE said it would evaluate its planned second-half dividend, leaving open a possibility that it would reduce the quarterly payout.
"We recognize the importance of the dividend to our shareholders and the significance of this decision," Immelt said in a statement Friday. "But we believe it is the right precautionary action at this time to further strengthen our company for the long-term, while still providing an attractive dividend."
Still, troubles at its GE Capital finance unit had led some investors to wonder whether keeping the dividend was a good idea.
"I am personally happy to see it happen, even though we are a big shareholder," said Peter Sorrentino, senior vice president and portfolio manager at Huntington Asset Advisors, in Cincinnati. "It'll give them the ability to weather this storm better ... I know that it's in vogue to maintain a dividend, but that should never come at the expense of the franchise."
GE shares have lost more than 70 percent of their value over the past year amid investor concerns over the effect of the credit crunch on GE Capital, GE's financial unit.
Ratings agencies Moody's Investors Service and Standard & Poor's are reviewing their ratings of GE. Many analysts suspect the company will lose its "AAA" rating, largely due to the problems at GE Capital.
GE, which makes everything from locomotives to household appliances and is regarded as an economic bellwether, has been working to reduce its dependence on its GE Capital though efforts to sell off parts of that portfolio have proved unsuccessful during the credit crunch.
GE is the parent company of CNBC.
—Reuters contributed to this report.