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Become An Economist

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Working As An Economist

  • Analyzing Data or Information
  • Getting Information
  • Interacting With Computers
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Processing Information
  • Mostly Sitting

  • Make Decisions

  • $110,994

    Average Salary

What Does An Economist Do

Economists study the production and distribution of resources, goods, and services by collecting and analyzing data, researching trends, and evaluating economic issues. 

Duties

Economists typically do the following:

  • Research and analyze economic issues
  • Conduct surveys and collect data
  • Analyze data using mathematical models and statistical techniques
  • Prepare reports, tables, and charts and present research results
  • Interpret and forecast market trends
  • Advise businesses, governments, and individuals on economic topics
  • Design policies or make recommendations for solving economic problems
  • Write articles for publication in academic journals and other media sources

Economists apply economic analysis to issues within a variety of fields, such as education, health, development, and the environment. Some economists study the cost of products, healthcare, or energy. Others examine employment levels, business cycles, exchange rates, taxes, inflation, or interest rates. 

Economists often study historical trends and use them to make forecasts. They research and analyze data using a variety of software programs, including spreadsheets, statistical analysis, and database management programs. They sometimes give a presentation of their research to various audiences. 

Many economists work in federal, state, and local government. Federal government economists collect and analyze data about the U.S. economy, including employment, prices, productivity, and wages, among other types of data. They also project spending needs and inform policymakers on the economic impact of laws and regulations.

Economists working for corporations help them understand how the economy will affect their business. Specifically, economists may analyze issues such as consumer demand and sales to help a company maximize its profits.

Economists also work for research firms and think tanks, where they study and analyze a variety of economic issues. Their analyses and forecasts are frequently published in newspapers and journal articles. 

Some economists work for companies with major international operations and for international organizations such as the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, and United Nations.

Many economists become postsecondary teachers.

The following are examples of types of economists:

Behavioral economists study the effects of psychological and social factors on the economic decisionmaking of an individual. They research how these factors lead to and affect the outcome of an economic decision.

Econometricians develop models and use mathematical analyses to test economic relationships. They use techniques such as calculus, game theory, and regression analysis to explain economic facts or trends in all areas of economics. 

Financial economists analyze savings, investments, and risk. They also study financial markets and financial institutions. 

Industrial organization economists study how companies within an industry are organized and how they compete. They also examine how antitrust laws, which regulate attempts by companies to restrict competition, affect markets.

International economists study international trade and the impact of tariffs and trade restrictions. They also examine global financial markets and exchange rates. 

Labor economists study the supply of workers and the demand for labor by employers. They research employment levels and how wages are set. They also analyze the effects of labor-related policies, such as minimum wage laws, and institutions, such as unions.

Macroeconomists and monetary economists examine the economy as a whole. They may research trends related to unemployment, inflation, and economic growth. They also study fiscal and monetary policies, which examine the effects of money supply and interest rates on the economy. 

Microeconomists analyze supply and demand decisions of individuals and firms. For example, they may determine the quantity of products consumers will demand at a particular price.

Public finance economists analyze the role of government in the economy. Specifically, they may analyze the effects of tax cuts, budget deficits, and welfare policies.

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How To Become An Economist

Most economists need a master’s degree or Ph.D. However, some entry-level jobs—primarily in government—are available for workers with a bachelor’s degree.

Education

A master’s degree or Ph.D. is required for most economist jobs. Positions in business, research, or international organizations often require a combination of graduate education and work experience. 

Students can pursue an advanced degree in economics with a bachelor’s degree in a number of fields, but a strong background in mathematics is essential. A Ph.D. in economics may require several years of study after earning a bachelor’s degree, including completion of detailed research in a specialty field.

Candidates with a bachelor’s degree may qualify for some entry-level economist positions, including jobs with the federal government. An advanced degree is sometimes required for advancement to higher level positions.

Most students who complete a bachelor’s degree in economics find jobs outside the economics profession as research assistants, financial analysts, market research analysts, and similar positions in business, finance, and consulting. 

Other Experience

Aspiring economists can gain valuable experience from internships that involve gathering and analyzing data, researching economic issues and trends, and writing reports on their findings. In addition, related experience, such as working in business or finance, can be advantageous. 

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Economists must be able to review data, observe patterns, and draw logical conclusions. For example, some economists analyze historical employment trends to make future projections on jobs.

Communication skills. Economists must be able to explain their work to others. They may give presentations, explain reports, or advise clients on economic issues. They may collaborate with colleagues and sometimes must explain economic concepts to those without a background in economics. 

Critical-thinking skills. Economists must be able to use logic and reasoning to solve complex problems. For instance, they might identify how economic trends may affect an organization. 

Detail oriented. Economists must pay attention to details. Precise data analysis is necessary to ensure accuracy in their findings.

Math skills. Economists use the principles of statistics, calculus, and other advanced topics in mathematics in their economic analyses.

Writing skills. Economists must be able to present their findings clearly. Many economists prepare reports for colleagues or clients; others write for publication in journals or for news media.

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Do you work as an Economist?

Economist Jobs

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Economist Career Paths

Economist
Adjunct Professor Senior Software Engineer Senior Analyst
Analytical Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Senior Research Analyst Account Manager Territory Account Manager
Channel Account Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Accountant Operations Manager Senior Manager
Director Of Analytics
13 Yearsyrs
Analyst Program Manager Product Manager
Director Of Product Development
11 Yearsyrs
Adjunct Faculty Co-Founder Business Developer
Head Of Business Development
8 Yearsyrs
Senior Consultant Product Manager National Sales Manager
International Sales Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Senior Finance Analyst Program Manager Portfolio Manager
Investments Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Adjunct Faculty Senior Software Engineer Senior Analyst
Manager, Strategy
8 Yearsyrs
Senior Finance Analyst Planning Manager
Manager-Strategic Planning
8 Yearsyrs
Data Analyst Senior Analyst Research Manager
Market Research Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Owner Construction Manager Regional Project Manager
National Project Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Project Manager General Manager Property Manager
Portfolio Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Senior Consultant Project Manager Engineering Manager
Research And Development Director
12 Yearsyrs
Deputy Director Instructor Assistant Professor
Research Director
7 Yearsyrs
Deputy Director Operations Director Project Director
Research Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Analyst Business Analyst Product Manager
Senior Product Marketing Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Product Manager Marketing Vice President
Senior Vice President Of Marketing
13 Yearsyrs
Accountant Business Analyst Product Manager
Technical Product Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Adjunct Professor Senior Project Manager Vice President, Business Development
Vice President, Strategy
13 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as an Economist?

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Do you work as an Economist?

Economist Demographics

Gender

Male

60.5%

Female

35.6%

Unknown

3.9%
Ethnicity

White

52.7%

Hispanic or Latino

14.8%

Asian

13.9%

Black or African American

12.9%

Unknown

5.7%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

26.6%

French

14.1%

Russian

14.1%

Chinese

6.0%

German

5.4%

Italian

3.8%

Portuguese

3.8%

Japanese

3.8%

Korean

3.3%

Mandarin

2.7%

Arabic

2.7%

Hindi

2.2%

Ukrainian

2.2%

Swahili

1.6%

Romanian

1.6%

Albanian

1.6%

Turkish

1.1%

Bengali

1.1%

Persian

1.1%

Urdu

1.1%
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Economist Education

Schools

Johns Hopkins University

11.1%

George Washington University

9.0%

University of Chicago

8.5%

George Mason University

7.9%

Harvard University

7.4%

University of Texas at Austin

5.3%

New York University

4.8%

Duke University

4.2%

University of Delaware

4.2%

Stanford University

3.7%

University of Washington

3.7%

Temple University

3.7%

Boston University

3.7%

Georgetown University

3.7%

Cornell University

3.7%

Arizona State University

3.2%

American University

3.2%

Clemson University

3.2%

University of Maryland - College Park

3.2%

Louisiana State University and A&M College

2.6%
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Majors

Economics

43.4%

Finance

13.8%

Business

9.7%

Accounting

4.6%

Agricultural Business

3.4%

Statistics

2.6%

Political Science

2.4%

Public Policy Analysis

2.2%

Management

2.1%

Environmental Science

2.0%

Business Economics

1.8%

Law

1.8%

Mathematics

1.7%

International Relations

1.6%

Marketing

1.4%

Natural Resources Management

1.1%

Legal Research And Advanced Professional Studies

1.1%

Education

1.1%

English

1.1%

Public Administration

1.1%
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Degrees

Masters

49.2%

Bachelors

19.6%

Doctorate

15.3%

Other

10.9%

Certificate

3.0%

Associate

1.1%

Diploma

0.8%

License

0.1%
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Real Economist Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Economist The Rock Creek Group, LLC Washington, DC Jan 26, 2016 $225,000
Latin America Economist Bloomberg, LP New York, NY Mar 28, 2016 $205,000
Economist TRG Management LP ("Trg") New York, NY Jan 09, 2016 $200,000 -
$400,000
Economist Board of Governors of The Federal Reserve System Washington, DC Aug 15, 2015 $190,000 -
$210,000
Economist EMSO Asset Management Us LLC New York, NY Sep 14, 2016 $185,000
Economist Board of Governors of The Federal Reserve System Washington, DC Mar 01, 2015 $180,000 -
$210,000
Economist Board of Governors of The Federal Reserve System Washington, DC Mar 30, 2015 $180,000 -
$210,000
Economist Packet Clearing House, Inc. Berkeley, CA May 15, 2016 $180,000
Economist Intensity Corporation San Diego, CA Sep 20, 2016 $180,000
Economist Barclays Capital Inc. New York, NY Feb 18, 2016 $180,000
Economist Mizuho Research Institute Ltd. New York, NY Oct 01, 2015 $179,307
Economist Pharo Management LLC New York, NY Jan 05, 2015 $175,000
Economist Pharo Management LLC New York, NY Nov 22, 2016 $175,000
Economist Novum Energy Services LLC Houston, TX Aug 18, 2016 $175,000
Economist Econone Research, Inc. Berkeley, CA Sep 13, 2016 $135,000
Economist Board of Governors of The Federal Reserve System Washington, DC Apr 01, 2015 $135,000 -
$165,000
Economist Board of Governors of The Federal Reserve System Washington, DC Feb 24, 2015 $135,000 -
$160,000
Economist Board of Governors of The Federal Reserve System Washington, DC Jun 15, 2015 $135,000 -
$165,000
Economist Board of Governors of The Federal Reserve System Washington, DC Sep 17, 2015 $135,000 -
$165,000
Economist Pharo Management LLC New York, NY Nov 10, 2016 $135,000
Economist Albion & Heath LLC Arlington, VA Dec 31, 2015 $132,642
Economist Board of Governors of The Federal Reserve System Washington, DC Feb 13, 2015 $131,000 -
$160,000
Economist Aegis Capital Corporation Miami, FL Sep 15, 2016 $119,407
Economist Berenberg Capital Markets LLC New York, NY Apr 14, 2016 $115,000
Economist I Amazon Corporate LLC Seattle, WA May 11, 2015 $115,000
Economist DLA Piper LLP (Us) Los Angeles, CA Oct 01, 2015 $115,000
Economist Fannie Mae Washington, DC Jan 26, 2015 $114,400
Health Economist Evidence for Healthcare Improvement Boston, MA Jan 09, 2016 $112,500
Economist I Amazon Corporate LLC Seattle, WA Sep 07, 2015 $111,100
Economist Thumbtack, Inc. San Francisco, CA Sep 13, 2016 $110,968 -
$131,040

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Top Skills for An Economist

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  1. Financial Statements
  2. Policy Issues
  3. Data Analysis
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Analyzed financial statements, streamlined financial data into Excel, and discovered more cost-efficient vendors.
  • Visit with various state agencies to understand fiscal and public policy issues.
  • Performed data analysis and research on economics of education and labor economics.
  • Managed several important client relationships and performed customized economic analysis for clients from a variety of industries and government institutions.
  • Assisted senior economists to develop econometric models for analyses using SAS.

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Top 10 Best States for Economists

  1. Massachusetts
  2. Connecticut
  3. District of Columbia
  4. New York
  5. Washington
  6. Virginia
  7. Missouri
  8. California
  9. Texas
  10. Alabama
  • (23 jobs)
  • (8 jobs)
  • (42 jobs)
  • (23 jobs)
  • (46 jobs)
  • (25 jobs)
  • (0 jobs)
  • (53 jobs)
  • (19 jobs)
  • (0 jobs)

Top Economist Employers

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