Britain's unemployment rate rose to 8.4 percent in the three months to December, which was the highest level for 16 years, official data showed on Wednesday.
"The unemployment rate for the three months to December 2011 was 8.4 percent of the economically active population, up 0.1 (percentage points) on the quarter," the Office for National Statistics said in a statement.
"The unemployment rate was last higher in the three months to November 1995," it added.
The total number of unemployed people increased by 48,000 over the quarter to reach 2.67 million.
The rate was unchanged from the level in the three months to November, but marked an increase from 8.3 percent in the three months to September.
The ONS also revealed that the number of people claiming jobless benefits climbed by 6,900 in January to reach 1.6 million. That was the eleventh consecutive monthly rise.