Jobless rate to stay high?

Although the government reported modest improvement in the overall unemployment situation in February, an economic forecast prepared for the Reagan administration says unemployment will remain at 10 percent through 1983.

Monitor correspondent Ed Townsend says the report - not yet released - also foresees unemployment remaining at 9 percent or more next year. The latest unemployment rate, released March 4 for February, showed civilian joblessness of 10.4 percent, unchanged from January. There are now 11.5 million Americans unemployed. The number employed dropped slightly to just over 99 million, while the average workweek dropped to about 34 hours, the lowest level in 19 years.

Adult men were 9.9 percent unemployed, adult women 8.9 percent. Although the figures for whites were little changed, 9.23 percent, black unemployment dropped significantly to 19.7 percent. The rate for Hispanics remained high, 15.8 percent, for teen-agers it was 22.2 percent, but for black teen-agers 45.4 percent.

Dr. Janet L. Norwood, commissioner of labor statistics, saw good and bad in job-creation legislation now in Congress. If the $4.9 billion program creates an expected 300,000 or more jobs, it could lower the unemployment rate to about 10 percent. But Dr. Norwood says that hopes for recovery could encourage many to look for jobs again - swelling statistics on the number of those actively seeking jobs and thus offsetting what otherwise would be a drop in the jobless rate.

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