Unemployment reached a seven-year high yesterday when the jobless total jumped to 1.7 million and manufacturing slumped to a 165-year low.
The number of people looking for work increased by 27,000 in the three months to September to reach its worst level since the summer of 1999.
Other figures showed that those claiming jobseeker’s allowance rose by 1,200 last month to 961,300, the highest total for five years.
The so-called claimant count has now risen for 17 of the last 20 months and by more than 70,000 this year.
The rate for the month was three per cent, unchanged from September but up from 2.8 per cent in October 2005.
National Statistics said the International Labour Organisation jobless rate rose to 5.6 per cent in the three months to September from 5.5 per cent in the previous three months. The latest figure is the highest since the three months to May 2000.
West Midlands ILO unemployment stood at 164,000, up 10,000, 6.1 per cent. The East Midlands equivalent was 119,000, down 2,000, 5.3 per cent.
On the claimant count, West Midlands seasonally adjusted unemployment was 110,200, down 100, four per cent. Unadjusted was 107,300, down 3,400, 3.9 per cent.
Meanwhile, the loss of manufacturing jobs continued, with employment in the industry falling to just over three million in the latest quarter, down by 77,000 over the year.
The number of workers in manufacturing firms is now at its lowest level since records began in 1841.
Other data revealed that 141,000 people were made redundant in the three months to September, up by 3,000 from the previous quarter.
The number of people classed as economically inactive, including students, those looking after sick relatives and those who have given up looking for work, increased by 13,000 to 7.8 million in the latest quarter.
Despite the gloomy job figures, the number of people in work increased by 56,000 over the quarter to 28.9 million, the second highest figure on record, reflecting a rise in the UK’s population.
The number of job vacancies fell by 600 in the three months to October, while 23,000 days were lost through industrial disputes in September.
Employment Minister Jim Murphy said: "Employment is up by nearly 200,000 on the year, and with a strong economy and over 600,000 vacancies there is room for more.
"That is why we have set our long-term aim of reaching 80 per cent employment, by getting more older people and lone parents into work."