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By a staff writer / June 5, 1989

The handicapped experience on average a 17 percent unemployment rate, more than triple the national average of 5.3 percent. The Association of Outplacement Consulting Firms says the handicapped jobless rate should decline in the next decade as employers seek to fill voids created by widespread worker shortages, especially among younger workers.

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There are 3 million fewer younger workers now than in 1979.

Many of the handicapped can be ``restored to productivity by being put on payrolls,'' says Louis LeHane, president of theoutplacement group.