The overall UK unemployment rate remained at 4.7 per cent in the three months to December. But official figures revealed that the number of people out of work increased by 13,000, to 1.4 million.
Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed that the number claiming unemployment benefits fell last month by 6,200 to 826,300, the lowest since July 1975, while the total number in work grew by 99,000 to 28 million.
The number of economically inactive people, including students, full-time parents, those who have taken early retirement or have given up looking for a job, fell by 73,000 over the quarter to 7.86 million.
Meanwhile, earnings growth increased by 4.2 per cent in the year to November, up from 4.1 per cent in October.
The ONS said that the rise was largely due to changes in the timing of some bonus payments in 'real estate, renting and business services'.
Ignoring bonus payments, wages grew by 4.4 per cent, the fastest rate in almost three years. The biggest increases were for civil servants, whose pay rose by 4.8 per cent.
But the outlook remains bleak for the manufacturing sector, which lost 110,000 workers in the three months to November.
The ONS also revealed that the total number of hours worked in Britain hit 914.2 million, a rise of 11.6 million and the highest total since records began in 1971.
The increase reflects the overall increase in the number of people in work as well as a growth in the average number of hours worked, particularly for women.