Sometimes verbs can turn into adjectives by adding -ing. These are called participles. In this example, rising is a type of adjective called a participle.
Adjectives modify nouns (see these links). Adverbs modify verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs (see this). High and hard are adjectives, so they cannot modify the participle (adjective) rising.
From the OED, promptly has these definitions:
- With little or no delay; immediately
- At exactly a specified time; punctually
The context of the sentence suggests that the problem is worsening over time, and the sentence does not refer to a specific time or instance. So, promptly does not fit the sentence.
The only remaining choice is steeply. Steeply is an adverb, and it can be applied to an ongoing situation.
The steeply rising numbers of those out of work are adding greatly
to the government's problems.
In the second example, rapid is an adjective, so it cannot modify rising or developing. Adding -ly turns it into an adverb, and adverbs can modify adjectives. So, rapidly can modify rising or developing. Both of these are correct:
Rapidly rising prices caused chaos.
Rapidly developing countries...