– Prime Minister David Cameron
It is a very difficult and hard road that we are travelling to turn this economy round after the huge mess that was made by the Party opposite. But when we look at the fact that, just this morning, we can see an extra 131,000 people in work we are seeing the changes necessary to start the rebuilding of our economy.
Business Secretary Vince Cable said the coalition had a "very good record on job creation" and a million new private sector jobs have been created.
Budget day begins with a clear sign that George Osborne has failed. Halfway through the Parliament, Britain is still being scarred by rising unemployment and it is our next generation that is paying a brutal price.
Today, youth unemployment has soared back up towards the million mark, overall unemployment is up and unemployment amongst women is up yet again.
– Liam Byrne, Shadow work and pensions secretary
If the Chancellor needs any more evidence for why he should change course, he should look no further than today's figures which show the massive hit working families are now taking.
Families in Britain have taken a £1,200-a-year pay cut and that's why we need real action to kick-start our flatlining economy and help families on middle and low incomes, not a tax cut for millionaires and more of the same failing policies
The facts and figures behind today's rise in the jobless total have been pulled together into a video by the Office For National Statistics.
– Frances O'Grady, TUC general secretary
Today's figures confirm our fears that economic stagnation has finally caught up with the jobs market.
Young people are bearing the brunt of our jobs crisis, with the number of unemployed youngsters up 48,000 and approaching a million again.
The news for those in work is not much better, with the gap between wages and the rising cost of living getting even wider.
We won't see a proper recovery in the jobs market until we get growth back into the economy. That's why the Chancellor must change course and prioritise jobs, growth and living standards in his Budget today.
– Mark Hoban, Employment Minister
It's a credit to businesses that the private sector is employing one and a quarter million more people than when this Government took office, helping us compete in the global race.
Today's figures show that, against a difficult economic backdrop, we're helping people to move off benefits and into work.
There are still tough challenges ahead which is why we're working hard to give jobseekers all the help and support they need to realise their aspiration of finding a job.
There were 993,000 jobless 16 to 24-year-olds in the latest quarter to January, up by 48,000 from the three months to October, but the rise among 18 to 24-year-olds was 53,000.
Other figures from the ONS reveal that public sector employment fell for the 13th consecutive quarter, by 20,000 to 5.7 million, the lowest for over a decade.