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300,000 New Jobs but Rate Stays at 7% : Most Part-Time or Government Posts; Unemployment Stuck

November 07, 1986|From Times Wire Services

WASHINGTON — About one-third of a million new jobs were created last month to keep up with a growing labor force and maintain national unemployment at 7%, but most of them were either part-time positions held by women and teen-agers or government positions, the Labor Department reported today.

The October figures were the same as in September, when American joblessness jumped two-tenths of a percentage point.

The economy created about 300,000 to 350,000 jobs last month.

New jobs off the farm surged by 298,000 in October, the strongest month since April. In addition, September's total was revised sharply higher to show 165,000 new jobs in that month, mostly local government school employees.

Women, Teen-Agers

"Almost all of the job gains occurred among women and teen-agers, a good deal of it in part-time jobs," said Janet L. Norwood, chief of the Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics.

She said 5.8 million Americans were forced to accept part-time jobs although they wanted to work full time--"a rather high number for this stage of a recovery."

But many other Americans filled part-time jobs by their own choice.

The figures showed 14.3 million people voluntarily chose part-time jobs--a group that has increased nearly 600,000 during the past year.

The White House continued to paint a rosy picture of the economy, with spokesman Larry Speakes saying "the Reagan economic expansion is now nearing the 12 million mark in new jobs created."

'Boom Levels' Seen

"We expect the expansion to continue, and with the help of the recently enacted Tax Reform Act and shrinking federal budget deficits, today's growth may soon reach boom levels," Speakes said.

The 298,000 increase in payroll workers was more than twice the average monthly gain of the previous five months. Almost all the increase in employment occurred in the low-paying service industry. There was particularly strong growth in services and retail trade, the figures showed.

Mining, the oil and gas industry and manufacturing employment all rose slightly in October after falling a total 350,000 since the first of the year.

The unemployment rate for adult men held at 6.2%, the level it has maintained for four of the last five months and the same rate as in October, 1985.

Joblessness among adult women has fallen from 6.4% to 6.1% in the last year.

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