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Economists

Annual Earnings Percentiles

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  • Analytical: 90
  • Creative: 66
  • Supported: 66
  • Social: 32
  • Purpose: 6

What Economists Do

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

Work Environment

Although the majority of economists work independently in an office, some collaborate with other economists and statisticians. Most economists work full time during regular business hours, but occasionally they work overtime to meet deadlines.

How to Become an Economist

Most economists need a master’s degree or Ph.D. However, some entry-level jobs—primarily in the federal government—are available for workers with a bachelor’s degree.

College Majors

Showing data from the American Community Survey for the following US Census occupation categories:

  • Economists

Bachelor's degree majors are shown.

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    Job Outlook

    Employment of economists is projected to grow 6 percent from 2014 to 2024, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Job prospects should be best for those with a master’s degree or Ph.D., strong analytical skills, and related work experience.

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    Job Trends for Economists

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    This occupation supported 16,900 jobs in 2012 and 21,500 jobs in 2014, reflecting an increase of 27.2%. In 2012, this occupation was projected to increase by 13.6% in 2022 to 19,200 jobs. As of 2014, to keep pace with prediction, the expected number of jobs was 17,300, compared with an observed value of 21,500, 24.3% higher than expected. This indicates current employment trends are much better than the 2012 trend within this occupation. In 2014, this occupation was projected to increase by 7.1% in 2024 to 22,700 jobs. Linear extrapolation of the 2012 projection for 2022 results in an expected number of 19,600 jobs for 2024, 13.7% lower than the 2014 projection for 2024. This indicates expectations for future employment trends are much better than the 2012 trend within this occupation.

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