UK unemployment rose to 2.5 million in the three months leading up to the end of November, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has said.
One in five 16-24 year-olds is now out of work, making this the highest rate of unemployment since records began in 1992.
Despite unemployment rising by 49,000, the number of people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance in December fell by 4,100 to 1.46 million, the ONS said.
Male unemployment increased by 43,000 in the three months to November to reach 1.48 million, while female unemployment rose by 6,000 to 1.02 million.
ONS data showed that average earnings had risen by 2.1% in the year to November, but there were 157,000 redundancies in the three moths to November, up by 14,000.
Ross Walker at RBS Financial Markets said: "There is a sense that the labour market is not showing any surge in activity a year into recovery. The underlying picture is still fairly subdued."
"These figures are disappointing and once again slightly worse than expected," said the British Chamber of Commerce's chief economist David Kern.
"For the second month in a row, unemployment is up, employment is down and the level of inactivity has seen a marked increase."
Mr Kern predicted that unemployment would rise by 100,000 to 2.6 million over the next year.
On Tuesday, the Institute of Public Policy Research warned that the UK faced a double-dip in employment, with the jobless level expected to rise during 2011.