Unemployment rose by 44,000 to nearly 2.5 million in the last three months of 2010, according to the latest report from the Office for National Statistics.
One of the biggest increases was in youth unemployment, with one in five 16 to 24-year-olds now out of work, a rise of 66,000 to 965,000.
The overall unemployment rate has risen to 7.9% and the number of people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance also rose by 2,400 to 1.46 million in January.
It also seems more people are out of work for sustained periods with the number of people unemployed for more than a year at 833,000, up 17.000 from the third quarter.
Geographically, unemployment fell in Scotland by 13,000, but rose in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Youths hit hardest
Brendan Barber, TUC general secretary, says young people were hit hardest by these results and they are also suffering from the government's recovery program.
"Trebling tuition fees, scrapping the Education Maintenance Allowance and vital job support – has only made things worse for young people. The truth is that no amount of restructuring benefits will deal with the fact that there are simply not enough jobs to go around. Without a proper growth strategy, the tragedy of mass unemployment will be with us for many years to come" he adds.
The rise in unemployment is adding further pressure to already cash-strapped consumers.
On average, those claiming Job Seekers' Allowance owe £15,816 in unsecured debts, and Delroy Corinaldi, spokesperson for Consumer Credit Counselling Service, says "anyone who has lost their job and is worried about making ends meet should seek help as soon as possible before being tipped into the black hole of debt, which can be a real struggle to get out of."