The United Kingdom claimant count figures for February were released by the Office for National Statistics on Wednesday, showing that the number of Britons seeking jobless benefits jumped by 7,200 to total 1.61 million. This records the twelfth increase in a row.
Expectations were for fewer claims of 5,000. The unemployment rate measured by International Labour Organization standards remained unchanged at 8.4 percent.
The number of unemployed persons rose by 28,000 in the three months to January. Average earnings, including bonuses, grew at a 1.4 percent annual rate in the three months ending in January, down from 1.9 percent in the three months ending in December.
The employment data highlight the weakness in the UK labour market, despite recent signs of improvement in the economy.
Prior to the data at 09:30 GMT, sterling gained against the US dollar to hit a high of 1.5742, but then fell to 1.5694 within 15 minutes of the news.