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Career profile Economist

Also known as Economic Analyst, Economic Consultant, Economic Development Specialist, Economist, Forensic Economist, Project Economist, Research Analyst, Research Associate, Revenue Research Analyst, Tax Economist

Economist

Also known as Economic Analyst, Economic Consultant, Economic Development Specialist

Interests Profile
  • Investigative
  • Conventional
  • Enterprising
Pay Range
$59,220 - $198,230 (annual)
Required Skills
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Mathematics
  • Critical Thinking
Knowledge Areas
  • Mathematics
  • Economics and Accounting
  • Computers and Electronics
Core tasks
  • Study economic and statistical data in area of specialization, such as finance, labor, or agriculture.
  • Conduct research on economic issues, and disseminate research findings through technical reports or scientific articles in journals.
  • Compile, analyze, and report data to explain economic phenomena and forecast market trends, applying mathematical models and statistical techniques.
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What does an Economist do?

Economists conduct research, prepare reports, or formulate plans to address economic problems related to the production and distribution of goods and services or monetary and fiscal policy.

In addition, Economists may collect and process economic and statistical data using sampling techniques and econometric methods.

What kind of tasks does an Economist perform regularly?

Economists are often responsible for overseeing or executing some or all of the following tasks:

  • Study economic and statistical data in area of specialization, such as finance, labor, or agriculture.
  • Conduct research on economic issues, and disseminate research findings through technical reports or scientific articles in journals.
  • Compile, analyze, and report data to explain economic phenomena and forecast market trends, applying mathematical models and statistical techniques.
  • Supervise research projects and students' study projects.
  • Teach theories, principles, and methods of economics.
  • Study the socioeconomic impacts of new public policies, such as proposed legislation, taxes, services, and regulations.
  • Formulate recommendations, policies, or plans to solve economic problems or to interpret markets.
  • Explain economic impact of policies to the public.
  • Provide advice and consultation on economic relationships to businesses, public and private agencies, and other employers.
  • Forecast production and consumption of renewable resources and supply, consumption, and depletion of non-renewable resources.
  • Develop economic guidelines and standards, and prepare points of view used in forecasting trends and formulating economic policy.

The above responsibilities are specific to Economists. More generally, Economists are involved in several broader types of activities:

Analyzing Data or Information
Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
Working with Computers
Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
Getting Information
Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Processing Information
Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems
Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.

What is an Economist salary?

The median salary for an Economist is $108,350, and the average salary is $120,880. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the Economist salary range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low salaries.

Many Economists earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of Economists earn less than $59,220 per year, 25% earn less than $79,860, 75% earn less than $151,210, and 90% earn less than $198,230.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of Economists is expected to change by 12.9%, and there should be roughly 1,600 open positions for Economists every year.

Median annual salary
$108,350
Typical salary range
$59,220 - $198,230
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)
12.9%

What personality traits are common among Economists?

Interests

Career interests describe a person's preferences for different types of working environments and activities. When a person's interest match the demands of an occupation, people are usually more engaged and satisfied in that role.

Compared to most occupations, those who work as an Economist are usually higher in their Investigative, Conventional, and Enterprising interests.

Economists typically have very strong Investigative interests. Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.

Also, Economists typically have moderate Conventional interests. Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.

Lastly, Economists typically have moderate Enterprising interests. Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.

Values

People differ in their values, or what is most important to them for building job satisfaction and fulfillment.

Compared to most people, those working as an Economist tend to value Working Conditions, Independence, and Achievement.

Most importantly, Economists strongly value Working Conditions. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions.

Second, Economists strongly value Independence. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions.

Lastly, Economists strongly value Achievement. Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment.

Psychological Demands

Each occupation brings its own set of psychological demands, which describe the characteristics necessary to perform the job well.

In order to perform their job successfully, people who work as Economists must consistently demonstrate qualities such as analytical thinking, achievement/effort, and persistence.

Below, you'll find a list of qualities typically required of Economists, ranked by importance:

Analytical Thinking
Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
Achievement/Effort
Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
Persistence
Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
Initiative
Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
Integrity
Job requires being honest and ethical.

What education and training do Economists need?

Many Economists have earned a graduate degree. For example, they may require a master's degree, and some require a doctoral degree, such as a Ph.D., M.D., or J.D..

Economists may need some on-the-job training, but most candidates will already have the required skills, knowledge, work-related experience, and/or training.

Educational degrees among Economists

  • 26.1% earned a Bachelor's degree
  • 37.7% earned a Master's degree
  • 36.3% earned a doctorate or professional degree

Knowledge and expertise required by Economists

Economists may benefit from understanding of specialized subject areas, such as mathematics, economics and accounting, or computers and electronics knowledge.

The list below shows several areas in which most Economists might want to build proficiency, ranked by importance.

Mathematics
Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
Economics and Accounting
Knowledge of economic and accounting principles and practices, the financial markets, banking, and the analysis and reporting of financial data.
Computers and Electronics
Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
Education and Training
Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
Law and Government
Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.

Important Abilities needed by Economists

Economists must develop a particular set of abilities to perform their job well. Abilities are individual capacities that influence a person's information processing, sensory perception, motor coordination, and physical strength or endurance. Individuals may naturally have certain abilities without explicit training, but most abilities can be sharpened somewhat through practice.

For example, Economists need abilities such as written comprehension, oral comprehension, and oral expression in order to perform their job at a high level. The list below shows several important abilities for Economists, ranked by their relative importance.

Written Comprehension
The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
Oral Comprehension
The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
Oral Expression
The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
Written Expression
The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
Deductive Reasoning
The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.

Critical Skills needed by Economists

Skills are developed capacities that enable people to function effectively in real-world settings. Unlike abilities, skills are typically easier to build through practice and experience. Skills influence effectiveness in areas such as learning, working with others, design, troubleshooting, and more.

Economists frequently use skills like reading comprehension, mathematics, and critical thinking to perform their job effectively. The list below shows several critical skills for Economists, ranked by their relative importance.

Reading Comprehension
Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
Mathematics
Using mathematics to solve problems.
Critical Thinking
Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
Active Listening
Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Writing
Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.

What is the source of this information?

The information provided on this page is adapted from data and descriptions published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration under the CC BY 4.0 license. TraitLab has modified some information for ease of use and reading, and the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.

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