First the bad news: One out of every seven workers at the Office of Personnel Management will be fired, moved to other jobs or downgraded because of layoffs coming this month at the government's central personnel agency.

OPM yesterday handed out pink slips (effective March 20) to 178 of its 3,100 employes here. Another 65 RIF notices were given to OPM's smaller field staff of about 2,000.

Because senior workers and veterans may be able to bump nonveterans with less service out of jobs, OPM estimates that 98 workers here (97 in the field) will be reassigned to different jobs at the same grade level while 221 employes here (124 in the field) will be demoted one or more grades.

The number of adverse job actions could decline, depending on how many workers take advantage of an early retirement offer OPM has extended to some employes through March 25. OPM was one of the agencies hit by a 16 percent budget cut from the White House and Congress.

In addition to the firings and demotions, OPM plans to begin furloughing employes (for up to 22 days) starting next month.

Now for the good news: General Services Administration says that employes at its hard-hit National Archives (where 213 people were recently fired for economy reasons) may be spared long-running furloughs this year.

GSA boss Gerald Carmen told Rep. Glenn English (D-Okla.) yesterday the agency can save nearly $5 million by reducing the amount of rent Archives pays the Public Building Service, another GSA agency.

Carmen says cuts in travel and training have saved money for GSA, which is still without its budget for this fiscal year. He told the government information subcommittee that a new bookkeeping technique that will reduce the rent of the Archives and presidential libraries should save enough money to prevent or minimize talked-of furloughs.

No Furloughs: General Accounting Office says the Commerce Department cannot proceed with plans to put its 47 economic development representatives on six-month furloughs. Commerce is another department waiting for congressional clearance of its budget. It is short of money and so proposed the long furloughs, although Congress specifically ordered it to keep hands off the economic development representatives when making economy cuts.