Unemployment has risen for the first time in almost two year.

Figures show there has been an increase of 46,000 people out of work.

The quarterly rise was the biggest since early 2013, although unemployment is 123,000 lower than a year ago, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

There were 1.47 million people out of work between October to December 2017, an increase of 46,000, giving a jobless rate of 4.4%.

Labour have said the rise in unemployment is "further evidence of the Tories’ economic failure, which has resulted in regional inequalities, wages failing to keep up with prices and millions of workers trapped in low paid, insecure work".

Meanwhile the TUC have calculated that real wages have been falling for ten months in a row, reports the Daily Mirror.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “The great pay squeeze continues. This is the tenth month in a row that real wages have fallen.

“Britain’s cost of living crisis is pushing families to the brink. But the government is failing to act.

“Ministers must give public sector workers the pay rise they have earned and invest in jobs working people can live on.

“In-work poverty is soaring on their watch.”

Despite the increase in unemployment - the first jobless jump since the summer of 2016 - the number of people in work increased by 88,000 to 32.1 million.

At the same time Labour stats show firms are struggling to find workers and the number of vacancies hit a record high in the last quarter, up 24,000 to 823,000.

Other figures revealed that the number of non-UK nationals from outside the EU working in this country fell by 68,000 to 1.17 million in the quarter to last December compared with the previous year.

The number of non-UK nationals from EU countries working in this country increased by 101,000 to 2.35 million, the smallest rise since 2013.

The number of workers on zero-hours contracts in their main job fell by 4,000 to 901,000 in the quarter to last December compared with the previous year.

The claimant count, which includes people on Jobseeker's Allowance and the unemployment element of Universal Credit, fell by 7,200 last month to 823,000.

Average earnings increased by 2.5% in the year to December, unchanged from the previous month.

The number of people classed as economically inactive, including students, those on long-term sick leave, taken early retirement or who have given up looking for work, fell by 109,000 to 8.7 million, giving a rate of 21%.

Job vacancies were up by 24,000 to a record 823,000.

ONS statistician Matt Hughes said: "While this is the sharpest increase in the unemployment level ONS has seen in almost five years, the number of people in work has continued to rise and there are fewer economically inactive people.

"Earnings continue to grow more slowly than prices.

"Rising employment this past year was largely driven by UK nationals. In particular, fewer citizens from eastern European countries were in work than in the year before.

"It's important to remember these figures simply look at the number of people in work, and aren't a measure of migration."

The number of self-employed workers fell by 31,000 to 4.8 million.

Minister for Employment Alok Sharma said: “High employment rates are a reliable feature of today’s economy – and this is an incredible achievement.

“It is equally important that, across society, everyone has the opportunity to get a good job, and get on in life.

“Today’s figures show that this government is building a fairer economy that supports people from all backgrounds to get into work.

“We are closing the BAME and gender employment gaps, and people across the country are accessing new opportunities.”

Debbie Abrahams MP, Labour’s Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, commenting on today’s Labour Market Statistics, said: “The rise in unemployment is further evidence of the Tories’ economic failure, which has resulted in regional inequalities, wages failing to keep up with prices and millions of workers trapped in low paid, insecure work.

“Eight million people in working households live in poverty and the number of children in poverty is set to soar to a record 5.2 million over the next five years.

“Labour will reform the Government’s failing Universal Credit programme, introduce a £10 an hour Real Living Wage and scrap the public sector pay cap to build a high wage, high skill economy for the many, not the few.”