How To Become An Economist

If you are interested in issues that affect the economy and love reading, researching and analyzing them, you could consider a career as an economist. In this profession, you will get the chance to conduct surveys and gather data. By using mathematical and statistical techniques and skills, you will be able to interpret and predict market trends. With your knowledge, you will have the opportunity to provide advice to governments, businesses and people about issues affecting the economy. You will get the opportunity to design policies and write scholarly journals.

You will need to possess excellent math skills inasmuch as you will be utilizing principles in calculus and statistics to perform your analyses. You will also need to be a critical thinker in order to relate how economic events and trends will affect businesses and the government.

Why Become An Economist

Not everyone has the academic ability or the passion to find the relationship between statistical data and its effect on the overall economy. If you are one of those who truly find enjoyment in surveying, analyzing and interpreting these kinds of data, then a career as an economist will prove to be very rewarding. In addition to the prestige that comes with being acknowledged as an authority in a particular economic field, it is also one of the more lucrative careers out there. Moreover, being able to actually warn people about potentially detrimental effects of certain economic events and helping them prepare for it or avoid it completely can also be a calling in itself.

Economist Work Environment

Economists usually work fulltime with agencies in the federal government as well as with companies in the management, scientific and technical consulting industries. They are also employed with state and local governments, scientific research and development and finance and insurance firms. Some also do consulting work on the side. Regular office hours are often observed although deadlines may require economists to work extended hours.

Economist Salary

Economists are paid mean annual wages of $101,450 or a median wage of $44.75 per hour in May 2013, according to the Occupational Employment and Wages report of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. In 2012, the agency also reported that those who worked in the finance and insurance industries were paid the highest at $110,580 with those in federal government following closely at $106,850. Other industries where economists received high salaries include scientific research and development services; management, scientific and technical consulting services and state and local government agencies.

Average Economist Annual Salary


The average annual salary for economists is $112,650 a year. Salaries start at $56,400 a year and go up to $172,580 a year.

Average Economist Hourly Wage


The average hourly wage for a economist is $54.16. Hourly wages are between $27.11 and $82.97 an hour.

Stats were based out of 19,550 employed economists in the United States.

Highest Paying States For Economists

Top Paying Cities For Economists

Data provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Economist Career Outlook

The employment rate of economists from 2012 to 2022 is expected to grow at the same pace as that of all other jobs. At a growth rate of 14 percent, the 16,900 economists employed in 2012 are set to rise to 19,200 in 2022. This is due to the emergence of a more complex global economy, stricter financial regulations and increasing competition among businesses. However, the federal government’s need for economists is projected to decrease in that time period. To improve one’s chances of getting hired, having a postgraduate degree, related work experience and solid analytical skills are a must.

Economist Degree

Economists who work in international, business and research firms hold advanced educational degrees. They may either have a master’s or a doctorate degree in economics. Those who only hold bachelor’s degrees may qualify for entry-level posts, typically with the federal government. If they want to advance to higher positions, however, graduate studies and relevant experience may be required.

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