The number of unemployed people in Britain climbed close to 2.5 million in the three months to December, while youth unemployment hit a record high, official data showed on Wednesday.
"The total number of unemployed people increased by 44,000 over the quarter to reach 2.49 million," the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said in a statement.
The ONS said the number of unemployed 16 to 24-year-olds jumped 66,000 in the three months to December to 965,000, the highest figure since such records began in 1992.
The unemployment rate, meanwhile, stood at 7.9 percent in the three months to December, unchanged from the three months to November.
Meanwhile the claimant count of people registered for unemployment benefits rose by 2,400 in January to 1.46 million, according to the ONS.
That confounded market expectations for a drop of 3,000, according to analysts polled by Dow Jones Newswires.