Statistics released today show that between 22nd October 2012 (the start of the new system) and 30th June 2013, 580,210 adverse decisions were made against claimants of Jobseekers Allowance. Some of those will be made against people who have been sanctioned before, but about 350,000 are first-time sanctions and the tables record the number of individuals affected as 397,180. There is a brief report in the Guardian.
During this period there were just over 1.5 million claimants of JSA. I’m not sure what proportion of unemployed people are now being subjected to sanctions, because the numbers need to be matched to the flow of claimants over that time rather than the total numbers. However, as a guess, given the throughput, it’s not likely to be much less than one in five.
Additional note, 6th November: David Webster has sent me a fuller briefing on the statistics about sanctions. Download his paper here.