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February 17, 1999

Employment Among Recent Residency Program Graduates

Author Affiliations

Margaret A.WinkerMD, Deputy EditorIndividualAuthorPhil B.FontanarosaMD, Interim CoeditorIndividualAuthor

JAMA. 1999;281(7):611. doi:10-1001/pubs.JAMA-ISSN-0098-7484-281-7-jbk0217

To the Editor: A major conclusion of the study by Ms Miller and colleagues1 should be amended. Contrary to their interpretation, the difference between the 7% unemployment reported by graduates and the 1% rate that program directors report is most likely predominantly a matter of timing. For 2 years running, we have surveyed graduates of diagnostic radiology and radiation oncology programs between 6 months and 1 year after graduation2,3 and found 1% or fewer report themselves unemployed at that time, although 5% or more report some unemployment in the months immediately after graduation. Our surveys of residency program directors4 produce entirely congruent data. Two months before graduation, directors report 10% of graduates do not yet have firm commitments for positions; 6 months after graduation, the same directors report 1% or fewer of graduates unemployed. Miller et al have a similar pattern in their data: 8% of graduates report themselves unemployed in May, before graduation, but by August, in the earliest report obtained after graduation, the figure has decreased to 4.5%. The data of Miller et al from program directors date from 6 months to 1 year after graduation and show 1% unemployment of graduates. Not only is the pattern very much like what we have found, somewhat surprisingly, since we survey only 2 specialties, but the actual numbers are quite similar.

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