NEW YORK — Reflecting strength in all divisions, Jones Apparel Group reported earnings jumped 16 percent in the fourth quarter and 20 percent in the year ended Dec. 31.

In the quarter, the company earned $7.4 million, or 28 cents a share, against $6.4 million, or 24 cents, a year earlier.

Sales rose 18 percent, to $108.7 million from $92.4 million.

After a $1.3 million, or 5-cents-a-share, gain from accounting changes, earnings in the year were $49.7 million, or $1.90. In 1992, earnings were $41.3 million, or $1.58. Sales for the year rose 24 percent, to $541.2 million from $436.6 million.

Sidney Kimmel, chairman, said sales in the career sportswear category remain strong, up 14 percent for the year, led by Rena Rowan for Saville career sportswear, which spurted 53 percent over 1992. The Jones New York career line continued to grow, he added.

Casual sportswear sales soared 55 percent, fueled by the rapid growth of Jones New York Sport and the introduction of the Jones & Co. line in early 1993.

Net sales for the dress, suit and other categories were up 50 percent, driven by the Jones New York Dress line, which generated over $24 million in sales its first full year, Kimmel said. He said selling, general and administrative expenses were 18.2 percent of sales in 1993, the lowest level in the company’s recent history. Kimmel also noted the balance sheet shows $159 million in working capital, with no short-term borrowings and $27 million cash at Dec. 31. The company performed well despite heavy promotions from late 1992 into 1993, Kimmel said. Plans include continued growth through increased market share, new product lines and selective acquisitions while keeping down expenses, he added.

Jones bought the Evan-Picone trademark in the fourth quarter and will launch the Evan-Picone Career Sportswear line this spring. Rena Rowan for Saville Sport will be launched in the spring and a Rena Rowan dress line will be launched in the fall.