Actors are the most unemployed of professional workers in the country, according to 1979 Bureau of Labor Statistics figures presented to the National Council on the Arts yesterday during the first day of its quarterly meeting.

In fact, Council members were told actors are three times more likely to be unemployed than other artists -- who all experienced decreases in their unemployment rates for 1979.

In numbers, said a National Endowment for the Arts' research division, spokesperson, actors have 35.8 percent rate of unemployment (up from 30.5 percent last year).

But as far as singer and actor Theodore Bikel is concerned, those figures are way off the mark -- unemployment is higher than that.

"For the past 22 years, records by Actors Equity and the Screen Actors Guild have shown unemployment was never lower than 70 percent," said Bikel, a member of the National Council and also the president of Actors Equity. "I am increasingly disturbed by the research division's tables. My figures have consistently shown a much higher rate of unemployment."

Research division staffers explained later that the BLS numbers reflect the jobs that sampled people have currently. Thus an unemployed actresss working as a waitress shows up statistically as a waitress.