Career Detail

Conduct research, collect and analyze data, monitor economic trends, or develop forecasts.
The Job
Economists develop methods for obtaining the data they need.Preparing reports, including tables and charts, on research results also is an important part of an economist's job. Presenting economic and statistical concepts in a clear and meaningful way is particularly important for economists whose research is intended for managers and others who do not have a background in economics.
Work Environment
Economists have structured work schedules. They often work alone, writing reports, preparing statistical charts, and using computers, but they also may be an integral part of a research team.
College Majors
Master's or Ph.D. degree in economics
Minimum Qualifications
Some entry-level positions for economists are available to those with a bachelor's degree, but higher degrees are required for many positions. Prospective economists need good quantitative skills.
Personality traits helpful for this career
Good communication skills also are useful, as economists must be able to present their findings, both orally and in writing, in a clear, concise manner.
Quick Facts
  • Slower than average job growth is expected as firms increasingly employ workers with titles that reflect specialized duties rather than the general title of economist.
  • Job seekers with a background in economics should have opportunities in various occupations.
  • Candidates who hold a master's or Ph.D. degree in economics will have the best employment prospects and advancement opportunities.
  • Quantitative skills are important in all economics specialties.
Compensation and Outlook
Median annual wage and salary wages of economists were $83,590 in May 2008. The middle 50 percent earned between $59,390 and $113,590. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $44,050, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $149,110. In March 2009, the average annual salary for economists employed by the Federal Government was $108,010. Starting salaries were higher in selected geographical areas where the prevailing local pay was higher.
Comments and Updates
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  Represents $30K  Each represents salary of $15K

Job Growth Outlook
Hyper growth industry Hyper growth industry
Average growth Average growth
Declining job market Declining job market
No growth No growth
Dead end profession dead end profession

H.S. diploma H.S. diploma
BA Degree BA Degree
Masters Degree Masters Degree
Doctorate,MD,PHD,JD Doctorate,MD,PHD,JD

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