Employment of economists is projected to grow 6 percent from 2010 to 2020, slower than the average for all occupations.
Businesses and organizations across many industries are increasingly relying on economic analysis and quantitative methods to analyze and forecast business, sales, and other economic trends. As a result, demand for economists should be best in private industry, especially in management, scientific, and professional consulting services.
However, employment in the federal government—the largest employer of economists—is expected to decline. As a result, demand for economists in the federal government is likely to be limited.
Despite slower than average employment growth, job opportunities for individuals with a master’s degree or Ph.D. are expected to be good. In particular, those with strong quantitative and analytical skills and related work experience should have the best job prospects.
As more companies contract out economics-related work, most job openings for economists will be in consulting services.
Applicants with a bachelor’s degree are expected to face stiff competition for jobs. Although there will be greater demand for workers with knowledge of economics, many bachelor’s degree holders will likely find jobs outside the economist occupation, working instead as research assistants, financial analysts, market analysts, and in similar positions in business and finance.
Employment opportunities in government are expected to be highly competitive.
Employment of economists is concentrated in large cities.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition