Economist Career Paths and Different Roles in Economics

Economics is a wide-reaching practice and field of study that can lead to career opportunities in virtually every industry. Economists play an important role within private businesses, nonprofit organizations, and government agencies of all sizes. According to the most recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are approximately 21,500 economists in America. The distribution of employment illustrates the broad range of career paths for economists:

  • Federal Government – 27%
  • Management, Scientific, and Technical Consulting – 20%
  • Scientific Research and Development – 11%
  • State and Local Government – 10%
  • Local government, excluding education and hospitals  – 7%

Note that many of the roles held by economists do not fall under the traditional “economist” job title, so the career possibilities are even greater than some statistics imply. For example, practicing economists or students who earn an economics degree can go on to work as statisticians, political scientists, and market research analysts.

Undergraduate and graduate economics degrees prepare students to work in many different careers by teaching them skills virtually all employers are looking for in high-level analysts and decision makers, such as the ability to think critically, apply information-processing skills, and communicate results concisely to a wide audience.

Take a look at this infographic to learn more about career opportunities in economics and where economists find employment. Discover new roles in the field of economics and chart out your own career path.

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