Jobless total reaches 17-year high
Unemployment has reached a 17-year high, sparking warnings of continued job cuts next year.
Union leaders called the new jobless total of 2.64 million "shocking" and pressed the Government to take urgent action to stem the flow of job cuts, which continued with news of more than 600 redundancies at travel giant Thomas Cook.
Employment Minister Chris Grayling maintained there were signs that the labour market was stabilising, while the Prime Minister insisted boosting the private sector was the only way to tackle unemployment despite figures showing that employment in private firms rose by just 5,000 in the third quarter of the year compared with 67,000 cuts in the public sector.
Business leaders said firms were reluctant to hire new staff and joined calls for action to stem the trend of rising unemployment, especially among the young.
The unemployment rate is now 8.3%, up 0.4% on the quarter - the highest since 1996 - while the jobless total is now worse than at any time since 1994 after an increase of 128,000 in the three months to October.
Unemployment among 16 to 24-year-olds increased by 54,000 to 1.03 million, the highest since records began in 1992.
The Office for National Statistics also reported that women's unemployment increased by 45,000 to 1.1 million, the highest figure since 1988.
The number of people out of work for longer than a year rose by 19,000 in the latest quarter to 868,000, the worst figure since 1996.
Jobseeker's allowance claimants increased by 3,000 last month to 1.6 million, the ninth consecutive monthly rise and the highest total since the start of 2010.
The number of job vacancies fell by 8,000 to 455,000, while 161,000 people were made redundant in the three months to October, down by 1,000 on the previous quarter.