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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

  • $142,000

    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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Economist Career Paths

Economist
Consultant Project Manager Product Manager
Director Of Product Development
11 Yearsyrs
Consultant Operations Manager Branch Manager
Business Development Officer
7 Yearsyrs
Consultant Senior Accountant Senior Finance Analyst
Pricing Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Accountant Senior Finance Analyst Planning Manager
Planning Director
10 Yearsyrs
Accountant Manager Senior Manager
Director Of Analytics
12 Yearsyrs
Accountant Analyst Senior Analyst
Analytical Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Finance Analyst Project Manager Business Development Director
Corporate Development Director
9 Yearsyrs
Finance Analyst Product Manager Product Development Manager
Research And Development Director
11 Yearsyrs
Finance Analyst Project Manager Chief Operating Officer
Chief Strategy Officer
13 Yearsyrs
Research Associate Product Manager Product Marketing Manager
Marketing Segment Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Business Analyst Functional Consultant Customer Relationship Management Consultant
Customer Relationship Management Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Research Associate Account Manager Territory Account Manager
Channel Account Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Research Associate Program Manager Deputy Director
Director Of Economic Development
10 Yearsyrs
Officer Senior Officer Deputy Manager
Deputy General Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Instructor Editor Executive Producer
Head Of Business Development
7 Yearsyrs
Instructor Officer Intelligence Officer
Foreign Service Officer
5 Yearsyrs
Senior Consultant Director Center Director
Community Service Director
5 Yearsyrs
Officer Intelligence Officer Senior Planner
Community Development Manager
7 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as an Economist?

Average Yearly Salary
$142,000
Show Salaries
$85,000
Min 10%
$142,000
Median 50%
$142,000
Median 50%
$142,000
Median 50%
$142,000
Median 50%
$142,000
Median 50%
$142,000
Median 50%
$142,000
Median 50%
$237,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Federal Reserve Bank of Boston
Highest Paying City
San Francisco, CA
Highest Paying State
Alaska
Avg Experience Level
4.0 years
How much does an Economist make at top companies?
The national average salary for an Economist in the United States is $142,868 per year or $69 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $85,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $237,000.

The largest raises come from changing jobs.

See what's out there.

Real Economist Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Economist, Global Market Access Abbott Laboratories Aug 08, 2015 $225,000
Economist The Rock Creek Group, LLC Jan 26, 2016 $225,000
Latin America Economist Bloomberg, LP Mar 28, 2016 $205,000
Economist TRG Management LP ("Trg") Jan 09, 2016 $200,000 -
$400,000
Managing Economist, International Economics Berkeley Research Group, LLC Mar 01, 2016 $200,000
Managing Economist, International Economics Berkeley Research Group, LLC Oct 01, 2015 $200,000
Economist-Latin America Natixis North America LLC Feb 11, 2016 $190,000
Economist Board of Governors of The Federal Reserve System Aug 15, 2015 $190,000 -
$210,000
Economist EMSO Asset Management Us LLC Sep 14, 2016 $185,000
Economist Packet Clearing House, Inc. May 15, 2016 $180,000
Economist Board of Governors of The Federal Reserve System Mar 01, 2015 $180,000 -
$210,000
Economist Board of Governors of The Federal Reserve System Mar 30, 2015 $180,000 -
$210,000
Economist Intensity Corporation Sep 20, 2016 $180,000
Economist Barclays Capital Inc. Feb 18, 2016 $180,000
Economist Board of Governors of The Federal Reserve System Apr 01, 2015 $135,000 -
$165,000
Economist Pharo Management LLC Nov 10, 2016 $135,000
Economist Board of Governors of The Federal Reserve System Feb 24, 2015 $135,000 -
$160,000
Economist Econone Research, Inc. Sep 13, 2016 $135,000
Economist Board of Governors of The Federal Reserve System Sep 17, 2015 $135,000 -
$165,000
Economist Board of Governors of The Federal Reserve System Jun 15, 2015 $135,000 -
$165,000
Economist Albion & Heath LLC Dec 31, 2015 $132,642
Economist Board of Governors of The Federal Reserve System Feb 13, 2015 $131,000 -
$160,000
Canada Fixed Income Trader and Economist Aviva Investors Americas, LLC Mar 09, 2016 $123,500 -
$130,000
Economist Daiwa Asset Management (America), Ltd. Aug 05, 2015 $121,202
Economist Keytrade North America, Inc. Oct 01, 2015 $120,000
Economist Competition Economics LLC May 13, 2015 $120,000
Economist Data Science Partners, LLC Dec 28, 2016 $120,000
Economist I Amazon Corporate LLC May 12, 2016 $120,000
Managing Economist, International Economics Berkeley Research Group Aug 18, 2015 $120,000 -
$180,000
Economist Gurtam, Inc. Jan 09, 2016 $120,000

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Top Skills for An Economist

  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.
  • Formulated and implemented the country strategy by engaging with policymakers on key policy issues.
  • Performed data analysis and research on economics of education and labor economics.
  • Contributed to the global economics and strategy outlook and marketed BZW economic products both domestically and internationally.
  • Translated data into written reports/economic analysis for clients and for online blogs, connecting results of analysis to actionable information.

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Top 10 Best States for Economists

  1. Massachusetts
  2. Alaska
  3. New Mexico
  4. Oklahoma
  5. South Dakota
  6. Nebraska
  7. District of Columbia
  8. Iowa
  9. Oregon
  10. Ohio
  • (23 jobs)
  • (1 jobs)
  • (1 jobs)
  • (0 jobs)
  • (1 jobs)
  • (0 jobs)
  • (42 jobs)
  • (2 jobs)
  • (5 jobs)
  • (2 jobs)

Economist Resume Examples And Tips

The average resume reviewer spends between 5 to 7 seconds looking at a single resume, which leaves the average job applier with roughly six seconds to make a killer first impression. Thanks to this, a single typo or error on your resume can disqualify you right out of the gate. At Zippia, we went through over 2,374 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.

Learn How To Create A Top Notch Economist Resume

View Resume Examples

Economist Demographics

Gender

Male

56.3%

Female

37.4%

Unknown

6.3%
Ethnicity

White

54.8%

Hispanic or Latino

14.3%

Black or African American

13.5%

Asian

12.3%

Unknown

5.2%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

25.0%

Russian

17.9%

French

13.4%

Chinese

5.2%

German

5.2%

Arabic

4.1%

Italian

3.7%

Ukrainian

3.4%

Portuguese

3.4%

Romanian

3.0%

Mandarin

2.6%

Japanese

2.6%

Korean

2.2%

Hindi

1.9%

Albanian

1.5%

Swahili

1.1%

Turkish

1.1%

Polish

1.1%

Bulgarian

0.7%

Bengali

0.7%
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Economist Education

Schools

Johns Hopkins University

9.4%

American University

9.0%

George Washington University

8.1%

University of Chicago

6.7%

National University

6.3%

Georgetown University

6.3%

New York University

5.4%

University of Texas at Austin

4.9%

Columbia University

4.9%

George Mason University

4.5%

University of the West

4.5%

Temple University

4.0%

Pennsylvania State University

4.0%

University of Maryland - College Park

4.0%

Harvard University

3.6%

University of Houston

3.6%

University of California - Berkeley

2.7%

Ohio State University

2.7%

Texas A&M University

2.7%

Colorado State University

2.7%
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Majors

Economics

43.6%

Finance

14.3%

Business

10.1%

Accounting

7.0%

Agricultural Business

3.3%

Political Science

3.0%

Statistics

2.2%

International Business

1.7%

Natural Resources Management

1.7%

Management

1.7%

Law

1.6%

Marketing

1.5%

Business Economics

1.3%

Mathematics

1.3%

International Relations

1.2%

Public Policy Analysis

1.0%

English

1.0%

Legal Research And Advanced Professional Studies

0.8%

Computer Science

0.8%

General Education, Specific Areas

0.8%
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Degrees

Masters

47.6%

Bachelors

29.4%

Doctorate

12.9%

Certificate

4.8%

Diploma

2.8%

Associate

2.1%

High School Diploma

0.3%

License

0.2%
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