Secretary of Labor F. Ray Marshall told reporters yesterday that "one of the Carter Administration's main objectives is full employment, and we're gonna get there."
Marshall discussed the programs that the Carter Administration hopes will mobilize designated "target groups" among the unemployed, saying "everything now depends on Congressional action."
Under separate programs which are now awaiting Congressional approval, the administration hopes to create 750,000 jobs by the end of the calendar year, Marshall said.
The former University of Texas economist spoke informally to a group of college journalists in the Kennedy Building in downtown Boston.
"The market has been steadily im- proving for college graduates," Marshall said, "and the government can work closely through colleges and universities to increase the information available" to students about market conditions.
Conditions have been adverse for graduate students in specific fields--such as the humanities and physics--because the labor market has been unable to adjust rapidly to the level of supply, he added.
Under the pending legislation, jobs for unemployed veterans would be created in the private sector through an incentive program financed by the federal government, and through the creation of 290,000 new jobs with funding provided under the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act (CETA).
Jobs for unemployed youths in the hardest hit 16- to 21-year-old target group would be provided by "establishing linkages between the job corps and the private sector," through the creation of apprenticeship programs and through a one-year "young adult conservation program," Marshall said. He said he is optimistic about the bills' chances for speedy passage.
Marshall defended the right of faculty members at private universities to form unions, saying "the choice should lie with the workers--the professors--and the government ought to provide the mechanism to guarantee that exercise of choice."
He said the establishment of a restrictive tariff policy on foreign imports "is a difficult problem. We ought to have a policy that moves us as close as we can to free trade."
Marshall said that the principle of comparative advantage--which dictates that a country should domestically produce only those goods which cannot be purchased more cheaply from overseas--is "a sound one, although we should examine each case to see if it would be feasible."
Marshall said that although "the labor movement was an important constituency in our election, we do not feel any specific obligation to them [labor unions] beyond just listening to them."
"They have felt to some degree abused by the administration," he said, adding that "in the balance, unions realize too well that things aren't as bad as they might be."
He said that although he favors the repeal of section 14b of the Taft-Hartley Act (the section which allows states to enact so-called "right to work" laws), "it's not a thing I get worked up about.