Jobless figures due today expected to be worst since 1997, as 10 jobseekers chase every vacancy

Official data due out later today is expected to show that UK unemployment has risen to above 2 million for the first time since 1997.

Analysts have predicted that figures for November to January will show a rise in the number of people out of work of more than 150,000.

Between October and December 2008, UK unemployment totalled 1.97m, and there are now 10 jobseekers for every vacancy advertised in UK job centres, according to the TUC.

Job centre
Job centres have only one vacancy advertised for every 10 jobseekers, says the TUC

During January, the total number of people claiming jobseeker's allowance rose by 73,800 to 1.23m. Data from the Office for National Statistics is expected to show a further increase.

Earlier this month, the British Chamber of Commerce predicted that by the second half of next year unemployment across the UK would reach 3.2m – more than 10% of the workforce.