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WHITE HOUSE BOLSTERS BUDGET BY PREDICTING HUGE JOB GAINS

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In an effort to bolster the Clinton budget package, the White House on Friday countered gloomy predictions of big job losses with rosier speculation about big job gains.

With key details of the Clinton program still to be decided by a House-Senate conference, the administration distributed a thick booklet estimating how many jobs each state would gain if it is passed.Even White House officials conceded the study was inexact.

"The point was merely to show that there is going to be job growth and that all states are going to enjoy job growth," said Laura d'Andrea Tyson, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers.

She explained that the administration began with predictions, used by the Clinton campaign, that the country would gain 8 million jobs between 1993 and 1996. They then divvied up the 8 million, according to economic trends in each state, to arrive at a growth figure for each state.

The system was not "methodologically perfect," said Gene Sperling, deputy economic policy assistant, after the presentation. He said the thrust of the study was to "show meaningful job growth in each and every state."

The study was produced because "there have been many erroneous studies" put out by opponents of the president's plan projecting job losses, Sperling said. He insisted the White House study is "by far the most credible and serious."

Republicans saw it differently. "The president's so-called job-creation study, issued today, makes projections that will surely come true when pigs sprout wings and soar with eagles," scoffed Sen. Phil Gramm, R-Texas.

"It's ridiculous," jeered economist Herbert Stein, veteran adviser to Republican presidents.

The 8 million-job increase in the Clinton term is "what you might get with the normal recovery," he said. "I don't see any connection between their program and the 8 million jobs."