Economic Analyst: Career and Salary Facts

Research what it takes to become an economic analyst. Learn about necessary skills, employment outlook and wages to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Economics degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is an Economic Analyst?

Economic analysts research significant trends in commerce and business. From their research, they forecast the effects of these trends on a company or industry. They often work for privately held companies, financial institutions or state and federal government. Some of the information they might analyze includes energy costs, taxes, healthcare costs, inflation or employment levels, depending on their industry.

They need to have keen skills in analysis and data interpretation and the ability to identify new trends. Economic analysts should also possess excellent writing and review skills to construct reports that explain their key findings on a topic or industry. The following table provides an overview for this career.

Degree Required Bachelor's degree (minimum), Master's degree (recommended)
Education Field of Study Economics, finance, statistics, mathematics
Key Skills Logic, problem-solving, programming, understanding of statistical & database software
Job Growth (2014-24) 6%* (all economists)
Median Salary (2017) $54,370** (all economic analysts)

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **PayScale.com

What Does an Economic Analyst Do?

An economic analyst discerns potential outcomes of economic or financial decisions made by corporate executives or government legislators. In this profession, you'll generally perform research and gather data for microeconomic analysis, usually about a specific industry. Your responsibilities could include developing models of possible scenarios, then applying a variety of quantitative and qualitative analytical methods, such as cost-benefit, business case, and risk-sensitivity analyses. You'll typically need to interpret complex analyses into understandable reports to present and explain your projections to diverse audiences.

What Skills and Education Would I Need?

The level of education you choose to pursue could depend on your professional goals and where you plan to seek employment. According to January 2012 job postings on Monster.com, employers required at least a bachelor's degree in economics or finance. Because logic and problem-solving are the foundations of economic analysis, statistics and mathematics could also be acceptable majors. Some employers stated that they prefer applicants with a master's degree or Ph.D. in economics. Other qualifications included programming skills and a solid understanding of specific statistical and database software.

Where Could I Find Job Opportunities?

You might find entry-level positions at consulting firms that provide economic analysis for corporations seeking to develop an informed business strategy. You could choose to concentrate on a specific industry, such as healthcare, energy or information technology, and work at a business or agency in those disciplines. Specialization could contribute to your advancement, since industry-specific knowledge, including legislation and regulations, could compensate for not having a higher academic degree. You could also find employment in local, state and federal government agencies or nonprofit organizations.

How Much Could I Expect to Earn?

According to PayScale.com, most economic analysts earned from $39,871 - $85,053 as of January 2017, with a median of $54,370. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipated that jobs for all economists would increase by about 6% percent during the 2014-2024 decade, which is about as fast as the rate for most occupations (www.bls.gov). However, employment opportunities may be limited due in part to a shrinking number of jobs in government, though prospects could be better in private business and consulting.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Statisticians collect data via things like surveys and experiments, and then they analyze and verify that data to figure out what trends and relationships it shows. They may work in an office setting and for a variety of industries, from healthcare to engineering. However, at times, they must travel off-site to collect data. Statisticians should hold at least a master's degree in statistics, mathematics or a related field.

Mathematicians develop mathematical rules and theories to either solve practical problems or study theoretical concepts in the field. They need to have analytical skills to analyze information that can be used to solve problems. They may work in government or private companies. Mathematicians usually need to hold at least a master's degree in mathematics or a related field.

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