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Overview of Economist Job Description

Job Descriptions February 14, 2014

In a report released May 12, 2012 by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for an economist was $91,860, while top salaried economists earned an average of $155,490. The report stated that the current number of employed individuals in the field at that time was 15,760. The annual expedited increase would be 6% for this occupation with a mean hourly wage of $47.83 and an expected annual wage increase of 1.2%.

The US BLS describes the position of Economist as one, who conducts research, prepares reports, and formulates plans to address economic problems in relationship to the production and distribution of goods and services. This individual may collect economic data and process said data for statistical evaluation, standard economic methods, and sampling techniques. The field and title economist excludes individuals titled market research analyst and marketing specialists.

Economists generally work for federal, state, local and municipal government or large corporations. They usually work independently within an office structure. Most will work full time schedules although many will work over time to meet mandated deadlines.

Most economists’ positions require an advanced degree although some low level governmental positions may be acquired with a bachelor’s degree and field related experience. The job outlook for the period 2010-2020 is slower than average for all occupations. Those that have attained the level of Masters Degree or PhD will be qualified for the best job opportunities.

Top positions in this field would be with the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. This department is responsible for the principal fact-finding for the Federal Government within the substantially broad field of economics and statistics. This agency is considered a politically independent unit within the greater office of The Department of Labor. In addition, qualified economists would also find positions within the greater federal statistical system, which includes the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) and the Census Bureau.

Economists are charged with studying the ways that society uses limited resources. These limited resources would include federal, state, municipal and corporate uses of water and land, and would often involve environmental concerns and impacts. More specifically these individuals are social scientists, with whom governments rely on to provide them with expert knowledge of systems that produce, distribute and use goods and services.

Economists are also involved with how individuals, businesses and governments at any level obtain, invest and spend money. They also are responsible under certain conditions for studying why people, businesses and governments follow certain economic courses. The field of economist is very broad, therefore, some individuals will specialize in subcategories like, industrial productivity, farm practices and policies, taxes or international trade.

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