Economists: Salary, career path, job outlook, education and more

Education Required
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. In addition, courses that introduce students to statistical analysis software are helpful.
Job Outlook
The projected percent change in employment from 2016 to 2026: 6% (As fast as average)
(The average growth rate for all occupations is 7 percent.)
Median pay: How much do Economists make?
$101,050 Annual Salary
$48.58 per hour

Economists study the production and distribution of resources, goods, and services by collecting and analyzing data, researching trends, and evaluating economic issues.

What do Economists do?

Economists typically do the following:

  • Research economic issues
  • Conduct surveys and collect data
  • Analyze data using mathematical models, statistical techniques, and software
  • Present research results in reports, tables, and charts
  • Interpret and forecast market trends
  • Advise businesses, governments, and individuals on economic topics
  • Recommend solutions to economic problems
  • Write articles for academic journals and other media

Economists apply both qualitative and quantitative economic analysis to topics within a variety of fields, such as education, health, development, and the environment. Some economists study the cost of products, healthcare, or energy, while 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. They sometimes present 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 managers and decisionmakers 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 international organizations, 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 journals.

Many PhD economists become postsecondary teachers.

Careers for Economists

  • Agricultural economists
  • Econometricians
  • Economic advisors
  • Economic development specialists
  • Economic research analysts
  • Environmental economists
  • Financial economists
  • Industrial economists
  • Industrial organization economists
  • International economists
  • Labor economists
  • Macroeconomists
  • Microeconomists
  • Monetary economists
  • Organizational economists
  • Price economists
  • Public finance economists
  • Social economists
  • Tax economists
  • Trade economists

Similar Careers