Economists do research. They prepare surveys to collect data and figure out what the data means. They also forecast how the economy might change in the future. Economists study topics such as prices, jobs, taxes, interest rates, and the stock market. Other economists study money and the banking system. Writing reports on their research is a very important part of their job.
Some economists work for Federal, State, or local governments. They help governments figure out policies related to taxes, trade with other countries, the minimum wage, and many other topics.
Other economists work for businesses. Economists often help them to figure out what to sell and at what price.
Economists work with numbers, charts, and computers. Economists have regular work schedules. Most work alone doing research, but a few may work as part of a team. Most economists have deadlines.
Education and Training
A master's or Ph.D. degree in economics is needed for many jobs. In the Federal Government, entry-level jobs require a bachelor's degree—about 4 years of college.
Courses in math, statistics, economics, and computer science are helpful. Learning how to write is also important because economists need to write reports.
How much does this job pay?
In May 2008, the average yearly wages of economists were $90,830. The average yearly salary of economists working for the Federal Government was $108,010 in March 2009.
How many jobs are there?
Economists held about 14,600 jobs in 2008. Over one-half work for governments. Many work for banks, consulting firms, and other businesses. Some work for themselves.
Most economists work in large cities.
What about the future?
Employment of economists should grow more slowly than the average for all occupations through 2018. More economists will be needed in businesses to do research. Governments also will need some economists to help study new policies. However, many people who work with economics will have other job titles.
People with a master's or Ph.D. degree and strong math, statistics, and computer skills should have the best chance of getting a job. People with a bachelor's degree may face strong competition for jobs.