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Job Outlook:
Faster than average
Education: Master's degree
Work From Home
High: $207,230.00
Average: $128,180.00
Average: $61.63

What they do:

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. May collect and process economic and statistical data using sampling techniques and econometric methods.

On the job, you would:

  • 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.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Economists must be able to review data and observe patterns to draw logical conclusions.

Communication skills. Economists must be able to explain their work through presentations and in written reports. Their audiences may vary from colleagues and other economists to those who do not have a background in economics.

Computer skills. Economists often use statistical analysis and other software to analyze data.

Critical-thinking skills. Economists must use sound reasoning to solve complex problems.

Math skills. Economists use mathematics, including calculus and linear algebra, to develop models and analyses.


A3 Your Strengths Importance

Characteristics of this Career

91% Analytical Thinking  -  Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
88% Persistence  -  Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
88% Achievement/Effort  -  Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
86% Initiative  -  Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
81% Integrity  -  Job requires being honest and ethical.
78% Independence  -  Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
77% Attention to Detail  -  Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
73% Innovation  -  Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
68% Dependability  -  Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
A3 Your Strengths Importance


100% Investigative  -  Work involves studying and researching non-living objects, living organisms, disease or other forms of impairment, or human behavior. Investigative occupations are often associated with physical, life, medical, or social sciences, and can be found in the fields of humanities, mathematics/statistics, information technology, or health care service.
61% Conventional  -  Work involves following procedures and regulations to organize information or data, typically in a business setting. Conventional occupations are often associated with office work, accounting, mathematics/statistics, information technology, finance, or human resources.
A3 Your Strengths Importance

Values of the Work Environment

78% Working Conditions  -  Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions.
72% Independence  -  Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.
67% Achievement  -  Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.
67% Recognition  -  Occupations that satisfy this work value offer advancement, potential for leadership, and are often considered prestigious. Corresponding needs are Advancement, Authority, Recognition and Social Status.


A3 Your Strengths Importance

Abilities | Cognitive, Physical, Personality

78% Written Comprehension  -  The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
75% Oral Expression  -  The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
75% Written Expression  -  The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
75% Oral Comprehension  -  The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
75% Mathematical Reasoning  -  The ability to choose the right mathematical methods or formulas to solve a problem.
75% Speech Clarity  -  The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
75% Deductive Reasoning  -  The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
75% Inductive Reasoning  -  The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
72% Fluency of Ideas  -  The ability to come up with a number of ideas about a topic (the number of ideas is important, not their quality, correctness, or creativity).
72% Problem Sensitivity  -  The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.
A3 Your Strengths Importance

Skills | Cognitive, Physical, Personality

68% Reading Comprehension  -  Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.

Job Details

Prepare scientific or technical reports or presentations.
Testify at legal or legislative proceedings.
Conduct research on social issues.
Prepare scientific or technical reports or presentations.
Explain regulations, policies, or procedures.
Present information to the public.
Review professional literature to maintain professional knowledge.
Advise others on business or operational matters.
Forecast economic, political, or social trends.
Advise others on matters of public policy.
Establish standards for products, processes, or procedures.
Testify at legal or legislative proceedings.
Supervise trainees.
Forecast economic, political, or social trends.
Instruct college students in social sciences or humanities disciplines.
A3 Your Strengths Importance

Attributes & Percentage of Time Spent

96% Electronic Mail  -  How often do you use electronic mail in this job?
95% Freedom to Make Decisions  -  How much decision making freedom, without supervision, does the job offer?
94% Indoors, Environmentally Controlled  -  How often does this job require working indoors in environmentally controlled conditions?
94% Structured versus Unstructured Work  -  To what extent is this job structured for the worker, rather than allowing the worker to determine tasks, priorities, and goals?
89% Face-to-Face Discussions  -  How often do you have to have face-to-face discussions with individuals or teams in this job?
86% Spend Time Sitting  -  How much does this job require sitting?
84% Importance of Being Exact or Accurate  -  How important is being very exact or highly accurate in performing this job?
76% Telephone  -  How often do you have telephone conversations in this job?
73% Level of Competition  -  To what extent does this job require the worker to compete or to be aware of competitive pressures?
87% Duration of Typical Work Week  -  Number of hours typically worked in one week.
A3 Your Strengths Importance

Tasks & Values

95% Analyzing Data or Information  -  Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
91% Working with Computers  -  Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
90% Getting Information  -  Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
90% Processing Information  -  Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
84% Making Decisions and Solving Problems  -  Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
79% Thinking Creatively  -  Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
78% Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge  -  Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
76% Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events  -  Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
74% Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others  -  Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
73% Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates  -  Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
71% Training and Teaching Others  -  Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
66% Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information  -  Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.

What Economists Do

Economists prepare reports, tables, and charts.

Economists conduct research, prepare reports, and evaluate issues related to monetary and fiscal policy. They also may collect and analyze statistical data.


Economists typically do the following:

  • Research economic issues related to education, the labor force, international trade, and other topics
  • Conduct surveys and collect data
  • Analyze data using mathematical models, statistical tools, and other software
  • Interpret and forecast trends, such as of financial markets
  • Advise businesses, governments, and individuals on problems related to fiscal policy or other economic topics
  • Present research in tables, graphs, and articles for academic journals, government publications, and other media

Economists analyze topics related to the production, distribution, and use (consumption) of goods and services. They work in or across a variety of fields, such as business, health, and the environment. For example, some economists study the cost of products, healthcare, or energy, while others examine employment levels and trends, business cycles, inflation, or interest rates.

Economists study historical trends and make forecasts, using software to analyze data. The focus of their research may vary, depending on their employer

Economists who work in federal, state, and local government may collect and analyze data about the economy, including employment, prices, productivity, and wages. For example, they may evaluate various economic policies or proposals to inform policymakers about the impact of laws and regulations.

Business economists help managers understand the economy to inform their decision making. For example, economists may analyze consumer demand and sales to help a company maximize its profits.

Economists also work for international organizations, research firms, and consulting firms. They may present their findings to a variety of audiences or publish their analyses and forecasts in newspapers, journals, or other media.

Work Environment

Economists held about 17,600 jobs in 2022. The largest employers of economists were as follows:

Federal government, excluding postal service 27%
Management, scientific, and technical consulting services 20
Scientific research and development services 11
State government, excluding education and hospitals 10
Local government, excluding education and hospitals 7

Economists typically work in an office setting. They often work independently, but they also may collaborate with data scientists, statisticians, or other specialists. Some economists may be required to travel, such as to attend conferences.  

Work Schedules

Most economists work full time, and some work more than 40 hours per week.

Getting Started

Doctoral Degree
Master's Degree

How to Become an Economist

Communication skills are important for economists, since they sometimes present research to colleagues.

Economists typically need at least a master’s degree to enter the occupation. However, some economists—primarily in government—qualify for positions with a bachelor’s degree. Others need a Ph.D.


Economists typically need a master’s degree. Positions in business, research, or international organizations may require a master’s degree or Ph.D. and work experience.

To pursue an advanced degree in economics, program applicants may need to have completed undergraduate coursework in subjects such as economics or mathematics.

Candidates who have a bachelor’s degree with sufficient course credits in economics, statistics, or mathematics may qualify for some entry-level economist positions, including jobs with the federal government. Courses that introduce students to statistical analysis software also may be helpful. An advanced degree is sometimes required or preferred for higher level positions.

Job Outlook

Employment of economists is projected to grow 6 percent from 2022 to 2032, faster than the average for all occupations.

About 1,200 openings for economists are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.


Organizations across many industries use economic analysis and quantitative methods to study and forecast business, sales, and other market trends. Employment demand is expected to be strong for these workers, as organizations increasingly turn to economists to apply analysis of big data to pricing, advertising, and other areas. The increasing complexity of the global economy also is expected to support demand for economists.

Contacts for More Information

For more information about economists, visit

American Economic Association

For information about careers in business economics, visit

National Association for Business Economics

To find job openings for economists in the federal government, visit


Similar Occupations

This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of economists.

Occupation Job Duties Entry-Level Education Median Annual Pay, May 2022
Actuaries Actuaries

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Bachelor's degree $113,990
Budget analysts Budget Analysts

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Bachelor's degree $82,260
data-scientists Data Scientists

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Bachelor's degree $103,500
Financial analysts Financial Analysts

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Bachelor's degree $96,220
Market research analysts Market Research Analysts

Market research analysts study consumer preferences, business conditions, and other factors to assess potential sales of a product or service.

Bachelor's degree $68,230
Mathematicians Mathematicians and Statisticians

Mathematicians and statisticians analyze data and apply computational techniques to solve problems.

Master's degree $99,960
Operations research analysts Operations Research Analysts

Operations research analysts use mathematics and logic to help solve complex issues.

Bachelor's degree $85,720
Political scientists Political Scientists

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Master's degree $128,020
Postsecondary teachers Postsecondary Teachers

Postsecondary teachers instruct students in a variety of academic subjects beyond the high school level.

See How to Become One $80,840
Survey researchers Survey Researchers

Survey researchers design and conduct surveys and analyze data.

Master's degree $60,410
Urban and regional planners Urban and Regional Planners

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Master's degree $79,540

Information provided by CareerFitter, LLC and other sources.

Sections of this page includes information from the O*NET 27.3 Database by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration (USDOL/ETA). Used under the CC BY 4.0 license.

CareerFitter, LLC has modified all or some of this information. USDOL/ETA has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.