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Unemployment levels in the UK are set to meet the two million mark, experts predict.

Official statistics are to be released later today, with industry commentators suggesting they may breach the "politically sensitive" figure of two million.

City economists already predict that 84,800 people joined the dole queue last month, with 73,800 already taking jobless benefits in January.

"Sharply rising unemployment, along with slowing income growth, seems highly likely to increasingly depress consumer spending," Howard Archer, chief UK economist at Global Insight, tells the Daily Telegraph.

The amount of people in search of employment, which includes those who are not eligible for benefit, reached nearly 1.98 million when statistics from the fourth quarter of last year were released.

Last month, the Office for National Statistics announced the unemployment rate stood at 6.3 per cent in the three months leading up to December 2008.

It also found that the claimant count stood at 1.23 million in January 2009, which emphasises the need for people to manage their debts effectively.

The number of claimants was at its highest since July 1999, according to the statistics.

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