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Average Salary
$114,896
Average Salary
Job Growth Rate
8%
Job Growth Rate
Job Openings
1,108
Job Openings

Economist Careers

Economists analyze and forecast economic trends. They do research and probe statistics to get an idea of which direction economic tendencies are headed. They are employed for their advice and detailed insight that is useful for the movers and shakers of companies and businesses when they formulate their business strategies and make decisions that impact their endeavors in the long run.

As an economist, you might work for the government or private organizations, financial institutions, banks, corporations, and many more. You will be expected to analyze national and global economic trends and financial information, give presentations about your findings and recommend viable courses of action.

A big part of your job will be to report on your findings in a clear and concise manner, using a language that is generally accessible without specialized education in economics. You will have to hold a degree, though, on occasion, even a post-graduate education will be required. Having experience under your belt as an intern will greatly improve your chances of getting hired.

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.

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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Average Salary
$114,896
Average Salary
Job Growth Rate
8%
Job Growth Rate
Job Openings
1,108
Job Openings

Economist Career Paths

Top Careers Before Economist

Top Careers After Economist

Economist Jobs You Might Like

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Average Salary for an Economist

Economists in America make an average salary of $114,896 per year or $55 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $193,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $68,000 per year.
Average Salary
$114,896
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Best Paying Cities

City
ascdesc
Average Salarydesc
Washington, DC
Salary Range89k - 169k$123k$123,185
Boston, MA
Salary Range85k - 164k$118k$118,301
San Francisco, CA
Salary Range83k - 163k$117k$117,061
Stamford, CT
Salary Range79k - 153k$110k$110,483
McLean, VA
Salary Range78k - 148k$108k$107,869
New York, NY
Salary Range77k - 149k$108k$107,668
$53k
$169k

Recently Added Salaries

Job TitleCompanyascdescCompanyascdescStart DateascdescSalaryascdesc
Corporate Policy Economist (SA 2)
Corporate Policy Economist (SA 2)
City of Seattle
City of Seattle
06/17/2021
06/17/2021
$93,31006/17/2021
$93,310
Economist, Labor
Economist, Labor
Idaho Division of Human Resources
Idaho Division of Human Resources
05/21/2021
05/21/2021
$52,17505/21/2021
$52,175
Economist, Labor
Economist, Labor
Idaho Division of Human Resources
Idaho Division of Human Resources
05/21/2021
05/21/2021
$52,17505/21/2021
$52,175
Public Service Commission Regulatory Economist I
Public Service Commission Regulatory Economist I
Maryland Government Jobs
Maryland Government Jobs
05/20/2021
05/20/2021
$47,88105/20/2021
$47,881
Public Service Commission Regulatory Economist I
Public Service Commission Regulatory Economist I
Maryland Government Jobs
Maryland Government Jobs
05/20/2021
05/20/2021
$47,88105/20/2021
$47,881
See More Recent Salaries

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Economist Resumes

Designing and figuring out what to include on your resume can be tough, not to mention time-consuming. That's why we put together a guide that is designed to help you craft the perfect resume for becoming an Economist. If you're needing extra inspiration, take a look through our selection of templates that are specific to your job.

Learn How To Write an Economist Resume

At Zippia, we went through countless Economist resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

View Detailed Information

Economist Demographics

Gender

male

56.3 %

female

37.4 %

unknown

6.3 %

Ethnicity

White

65.7 %

Hispanic or Latino

14.1 %

Asian

12.6 %

Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

25.0 %

Russian

17.9 %

French

13.4 %
See More Demographics

Economist Education

Majors

Economics
49.8 %
Finance
9.8 %

Degrees

Bachelors

55.8 %

Masters

29.0 %

Doctorate

6.2 %

Top Colleges for Economists

1. Harvard University

Cambridge, MA • Private

In-State Tuition
$50,420
Enrollment
7,582

2. University of Minnesota - Twin Cities

Minneapolis, MN • Private

In-State Tuition
$14,760
Enrollment
31,451

3. Northwestern University

Evanston, IL • Private

In-State Tuition
$54,568
Enrollment
8,451

4. University of Georgia

Athens, GA • Private

In-State Tuition
$11,830
Enrollment
29,474

5. Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Blacksburg, VA • Private

In-State Tuition
$13,620
Enrollment
27,730

6. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,584
Enrollment
10,764

7. Ohio State University

Columbus, OH • Private

In-State Tuition
$10,726
Enrollment
45,769

8. University of Wisconsin - Madison

Madison, WI • Private

In-State Tuition
$10,555
Enrollment
30,360

9. University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor, MI • Private

In-State Tuition
$15,262
Enrollment
30,079

10. University of Connecticut

Storrs, CT • Private

In-State Tuition
$15,730
Enrollment
18,830
See More Education Info

Online Courses For Economist That You May Like

Earth Economics
coursera

After this course you will be an Earth Economist that can provide evidence-based advise on the best global policy. As an Earth Economist you will better understand the behavior and advice of economists, have become a better economist yourself and know where to find Earth's data and how to analyze these world observations. Our planet is too important: we need you to get engaged! Earth Economics offers a completely new angle to policy analysis by its focus on the truly global level and its empiric...

Introduction to Economic Theories
coursera

Wondering why economists have not predicted serious financial crises? Shocked by economic assumptions of human behavior as self-centered and focusing only on what can be measured? Asking yourself if there are no sensible economic alternatives to free markets? Then you are at the right place to learn economics! This is the first online course that teaches economics from a pluralist perspective. Economic pluralism means that a plurality of theoretical and methodological viewpoints is regarded as v...

Agriculture, Economics and Nature
coursera

Sound economic thinking is crucial for farmers because they depend on good economic decision making to survive. Governments depend on economic information to make good policy decisions on behalf of the community. This course will help you to contribute to better decision making by farmers, or by agencies servicing agriculture, and it will help you to understand why farmers respond to policies and economic opportunities in the ways they do. You can use this course to improve your skills and knowl...

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Top Skills For an Economist

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 10.7% of economists listed research projects on their resume, but soft skills such as speaking skills and writing skills are important as well.

  • Research Projects, 10.7%
  • Data Analysis, 10.5%
  • Economic Research, 8.1%
  • Economic Analysis, 5.4%
  • Economic Information, 4.3%
  • Other Skills, 61.0%
  • See All Economist Skills

Best States For an Economist

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as an economist. The best states for people in this position are Montana, South Dakota, Massachusetts, and North Dakota. Economists make the most in Montana with an average salary of $118,905. Whereas in South Dakota and Massachusetts, they would average $118,373 and $115,757, respectively. While economists would only make an average of $110,208 in North Dakota, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. District of Columbia

Total Economist Jobs:
51
Highest 10% Earn:
$203,000
Location Quotient:
13.54
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. Massachusetts

Total Economist Jobs:
41
Highest 10% Earn:
$199,000
Location Quotient:
1.99
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. North Dakota

Total Economist Jobs:
2
Highest 10% Earn:
$186,000
Location Quotient:
0.96
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
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Top Economist Employers

1. Federal Reserve System
4.6
Avg. Salary: 
$151,301
Economists Hired: 
433+
2. Amazon.com
4.7
Avg. Salary: 
$112,822
Economists Hired: 
159+
3. Bureau of Labor Statistics
4.1
Avg. Salary: 
$93,502
Economists Hired: 
99+
4. Federal Reserve Bank of New York
4.4
Avg. Salary: 
$146,868
Economists Hired: 
80+
5. Capital One
4.7
Avg. Salary: 
$103,671
Economists Hired: 
72+
6. Federal National Mortgage Association
4.6
Avg. Salary: 
$91,342
Economists Hired: 
56+

What are the best companies to work for?

D

Dr. Dina Franceschi Ph.D.

Professor, Fairfield University

Here is a list of our most recent placements for Economics grads from Fairfield.
JP Morgan
Goldman Sachs Group, Inc.
Synchrony
Google
Cigna
Travelers
Reuters
Peoples United Bank
BlackRock, Inc.
Newtown Savings Bank
American Express
Gabelli Asset Management Co.
General Electric Co.
Greenwich Capital
IBM Corp.
Show more

What are the best companies to work for?

Jeffery Degner

Assistant Professor of Economics, Cornerstone University

Rather than thinking about specific companies, I encourage students to look for the best employer for them. I would urge graduates to give first consideration to companies with a clear track record of employee training and development that also have multiple pathways and opportunities for promotion. It is often tempting to only target firms that have high salaries. While this is undoubtedly an appealing reason to seek employment, students should view their first job in international business as a sort of 'on-ramp' that gets you onto a highway. To continue the analogy, if you see an on-ramp with a posted speed limit, but there is a traffic jam in front of you, with no room to advance...that's a recipe for getting stuck. Seek out companies that provide a clear and well-supported path to greater responsibility, and the income will follow.Show more

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