The number of people claiming unemployment benefits increased at the fastest rate since 1992, according to figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) today.
As the number of unemployment benefits increased for the sixth fifth consecutive month, some 15,500 more claimants registered for benefits.
The claimant count increased over the month in all regions of the UK.
However, the unemployment rate stood at 5.2 per cent for the three months to May 2008 - unchanged over the previous quarter. The figure has fallen by 0.2 over the year.
In contrast, employment rose.
The employment rate for people of working age stood at 74.9 per cent for the three months to May 2008, unchanged from the previous quarter, but up 0.4 per cent over the year.
There are now 29.59 million people in employment - the highest figure since comparable records began in 1971 - up 61,000 over the quarter and 413,000 over the year.
In total 945.0 million hours were worked over the quarter, increasing by 5.6 million hours on the previous three months.
"Unemployment is a lagging indicator and it seems inevitable that extended very weak economic activity and deteriorating business confidence will exact an increasing toll on the labour market over the coming months," argued Howard Archer, chief economist at analysts Global Insight.
"Significantly, latest labour hiring surveys are clearly softer, such as the June survey by the Bank of England's regional agents."
There were 655,100 job vacancies for the three months to June 2008, finds the ONS, down 32,200 over the previous quarter but up 5,900 over the year.
The redundancy rate for the three months to May 2008 was 4.6 per 1,000 employees. Again this is up 0.4 per cent over the quarter but down 0.1 per cent over the year.