By politics.co.uk staff
More people have been out of work for over a year than at any time since New Labour came to power in 1997, according to a thinktank.
Analysis by the Institute for Public Policy Research suggested 850,000 people have not had a job for over a year, up by 20,000 from January 2011's figures.
Overall employment levels increased by 0.2% in the first quarter of 2011, while unemployment fell by 0.1% to 7.7% of the economically active population.
But the IPPR insisted that significant falls in the 1990s and 2000s were being reversed by the fallout from the recent recession and subsequent stagnant economic growth.
"Headline figures suggest that unemployment levels are stable, but these mask underlying trends," IPPR director Nick Pearce said.
"Many people are experiencing long spells of unemployment and long-term unemployment is rising steeply.
"Being out of work for more than a year can have a scarring affect, making it harder to get a job and as well as having a negative impact on one's health and wellbeing.
"The government's decision to abolish job guarantees for young people may leave a generation of young people scarred for many years to come."
The number of people unemployed for less than 12 months fell by 56,000 to reach 1.61 million, according to the IPPR.