The number in unemployment rose by 46,000 to 1.47 million compared the previous three months.
Other figures revealed that the number of non-UK nationals from outside the European Union working in this country fell by 68,000 to 1.17 million in the quarter to last December compared with the previous year.
There was also a better-than-expected rise in wages, although it still trails behind inflation, which stood at 3 percent in December, 2017.
This is the largest rise in the jobless total since early 2013 and the first time it has jumped since the summer of 2016. Statisticians said the reason why both employment and unemployment increased at the same time was that the number of people deemed to be inactive declined.
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Maike Currie, investment director for personal investing at Fidelity International, said with the Bank of England increasingly pinning the chances of further interest rate hikes on accelerating pay growth (alongside Brexit progress), the prospect of an early rate rise seems "unlikely".
The average earnings index, incl. bonuses, rose by a seasonally adjusted 2.5% in the three months to December (excl. bonus rose by 2.5%), matching forecasts and unchanged from the preceding three-month period.
However, the claimant count fell by 7,200 last month to 823,000, said the Office for National Statistics.
Wednesday's data marks the first time since August 2016 that the UK's headline rate of unemployment has climbed.
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Oil imports are set to continue to grow at a strong pace and increasingly influence global oil flows and oil markets. Gold shed 0.3 percent to 1,342.07, while gold futures for the April contract fell by 0.8 percent to $1,344.60.
The figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) sent the pound a cent lower against the U.S. dollar to just over $1.39.
"This is the sharpest increase in the unemployment level the ONS has seen in nearly five years", Matt Hughes, a senior statistician from the ONS. told media.
But wage increases continue to lag behind inflation, meaning that pay fell by 0.3% in real terms.
Unemployment has increased by the biggest amount in nearly five years, while earnings continue to grow more slowly than prices, new figures reveal.
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However, Zidane's half-time talk paid dividends for Real Madrid as they ran rampant after the interval. In fact, he believes they will 'suffer ' in Paris following their 3-1 win in their home leg.
He said: "Economically speaking, not much has changed in the labour market, which is still characterised by low unemployment and stubbornly stagnant wages".