Economists: Salary, Job Description, How To Become One, and Quiz

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Job description

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

  • 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.
Read more about what does an Economist really do at work and what is it like being and working as one.

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Average salary
$116020 per year

Average hourly wage
$56 per hour

Economists with little to no experience tend to make between $58130 and $77270 while the more experienced ones can earn over $141780 per year.

Top 5 paying states Hourly Annual
DC $65 $134,260
NY $61 $127,520
VA $61 $126,080
OH $60 $125,490
CA $60 $124,430

One of the easiest ways to increase your salary as an Economist is to move to a higher paying state like DC. Right now, the highest paying states for Economists are DC, NY, VA, OH and CA.

However, a higher pay at DC doesn’t guarantee that you will make more because the living expenses at DC might be twice as high than where you are currently at now.

Three other factors that can increase your salary as an Economist is the degree you hold, the industry you work in, and lastly the company you work for.


Recommended degree level
Doctoral degree

We asked other Economists what degree they had when they got the job and most of them said they had a PhD followed by a Master’s Degree.

Other than that, we also asked them what did they major in and here are the most popular majors that came up.

Agricultural Economics
Financial Mathematics
Economics, General
Applied Economics
Econometrics and Quantitative Economics
Read more about how to become an Economist and the degree, training and education you need.

Pros and Cons

Here are some of the pros and cons of being an Economist.

Suitable for people who likes to solve problems mentally
Suitable for people who wants job security and a good working condition
This career is perfect for people who love to work indoors.
One of the highest paid careers in the world
Not suitable for people who likes to help and teach others
It is very hard to get into this career. Extensive skill, knowledge, and experience is required for this career.
Long working hours (More than 40 hours per week)

What is the job like

Job satisfaction

Is this job meaningful

76% of Economists said they were satisfied with their job and 54% said they feel like their job is making other people’s lives better.

Is this right for me

Best personality for this career
The Thinkers and The Organizers

You can read more about these career personality types here.

People who are suitable for this job tends to like working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. They like searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally..

They also like following set procedures and routines. They like working with data and details more than with ideas.

Learn more about Economists

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Related career information

Economists job description, Economists salary, Economists information, what is the job of an Economist like, pros and cons about Economists, colleges and universities for Economists, is Economists the right career for me, careers in Social Science and Humanities

Similar careers

Agricultural Economist, Business Economist, Econometrician, Economic Adviser, Economic Analysis Director, Economic Analyst, Economic Consultant, Economic Developer, Economic Development Specialist, Economic Research Analyst

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