The total number out of work has climbed to 1.825 million - the most since November 1997, according to figures released by the Office for National Statistics. The number of unemployed people rose by 140,000 in the three months to September, leaving the unemployment rate up 0.4 per cent to 5.8 per cent.
The figures come as another sign of the deterioration of the British economy amid the global financial crisis. They were announced a day after a round of 5,000 job cuts by several household names, including Virgin Media and Yell. Last month's figures, for the three months to August, saw the unemployment total rise by 164,000 - the biggest increase for 17 years. Economists believe it will continue to rise as Britain looks set to enter a recession.
The ONS figures are based on the International Labour Organisation definition of unemployment, which includes both those claiming out-of-work benefit and those who are not, despite being unemployed.