The number of people who are inactive but who say that they would like a job in October was 110,000 higher than in February, suggesting that when the pandemic fades, the pool of job-seekers will grow, said Samuel Tombs, chief UK economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics.
The number of people looking for work rose by 241,000 between the months of August and October, taking the jobless rate to 4.9%, data released by the Office of National Statistics showed.
The UK's unemployment rate hit its highest since 2016 in October, before a national lockdown took effect the next month and now, when huge parts of the population face tough new rules on movement beginning Wednesday.
The number of people unemployed in the three months to October rose by 241,000, taking the jobless rate to 4.9%, the highest since 2016.
Tombs expects the UK's unemployment rate to peak at about 6.5% in the second quarter next year after the country has exited the single EU market.