Unemployment is a hot topic in an election year. In the past 12 months, the rate has dropped from 10.4 percent to its current 8 percent. The Reagan administration budget projects 7.7 by the end of 1984. That would still be above the 7.4 percent when Mr. Reagan was inaugurated.
All categories of the civilian work force improved: Adult men out of work dropped to 7.3 percent; adult women, 7.1 percent; teen-agers, 19.4 percent. Highest unemployment was among black teen-agers, at 47.9 percent. Still, total employment rose to 103.2 million - good news to most Americans. Some economists worry, however, that by the late 1980s the US will experience a labor shortage and that could stimulate wage and price inflation.