Unemployment in the UK increased by 35,000 in the three months to October to 2.5m, according to official figures.
It is the first time that the jobless measure has risen for six months.
The increase pushed the unemployment rate up to 7.9 per cent, the figures from the Office for National Statistics showed.
However, the number of people claiming the jobseeker's allowance in November fell by 1,200 to 1.46m.
Across the UK, among the worst-hit areas were Yorkshire, the North East and Northern Ireland, all of which already suffer unemployment rates over nine per cent, and saw big drops in total employment.
London, the East and Scotland saw their unemployment rates fall slightly.
"The increase in joblessness is a bit of a standout and markets may focus on it as an example of what may happen in 2011," said Investec analyst Philip Shaw.