WASHINGTON -- President Reagan predicts his economic recovery program will generate several million more jobs by 1986 and give wage earners added purchasing power.
In a Labor Day radio address aired Sunday, Reagan said of his program to stimulate the nation's private sector: 'Let me make our goal in this program very clear: jobs, jobs, jobs and more jobs.
'I see an era in which wage earners will be taking home more money in real dollars and an era in which fewer of us will be looking for work,' he said.
He predicted 'the creation of 3 million more jobs by 1986, in addition to the 10 million already expected.'
Still, the president was keeping his distance from disenchanted union leaders this Labor Day.
Celebrating the national holiday, Reagan flew to New York to present an $85 million federal check to Mayor Edward Koch for construction of Westway, a Manhattan highway project.
Stealing some of the attention from the presidential show was a parade of thousands down Fifth Avenue led by AFL-CIO President Lane Kirkland to commemorate the labor organization's 100th anniversary. White House spokesman Larry Speakes had 'no comment' on Kirkland's charges that Reagan is 'hard fisted' toward unions and has no 'heart.'
Labor leaders, irate at Reagan for firing 11,400 air traffic controllers who went on strike in defiance of federal law, did not invite him to participate in the parade, nor did the White House seek an invitation.
Reagan faced a possible confrontation with labor anyway.
A group calling itself the 'Coalition to Defend the Air Traffic Controllers' planned to hold a rally outside Gracie Mansion, the mayor's official home, where he was to present the check.
A spokesman for the striking Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization said the union had no connection with the planned demonstration and would not participate.
Before leaving the White House, Reagan was to be given Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger's recommendations for slashing military spending in fiscal 1983 and 1984.
Weinberger has balked against big cuts and will have a chance to make his case at a meeting Tuesday with Reagan and budget director David Stockman.
Reagan spent the Labor Day weekend at the White House, considering possible budget reductions and preparing for a two-day state visit this week by Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin.
Begin is to confer with Reagan on Wednesday and Thursday and a major topic of discussion may be the president's proposed $8.5 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia -- a package opposed by Israel and many members of Congress.
In his Labor Day address, Reagan said:
'Today, as we set our minds to a new season of work, we begin what I hope will be a new age of the American worker, an age in which all of us again are free to prosper.'
'Our policy has been and will continue to be: What is good for the American worker is good for America,' Reagan said. 'But too many Americans don't have a job.'
He added that his policies have swept away the shackles impeding prosperity.
'Now, I know that we can't make things right overnight,' he added. 'But we will make them right. Our destiny is not our fate. It is our choice. I ask all Americans, in these direst, crucial months of recovery, to join me with confidence as we strike out on this new path to prosperity.'