Economic majors develop strong analytical skills and the ability to effectively interpret quantitative information. These skills are in demand in many different sectors and occupations.
A major in economics will give you a wide range of career options, which may be valuable also to those who do not have yet a specific career path in mind.
Our students have moved on to a variety of careers. Some have pursued Master's or Ph.D.'s in economics and even become professors of economics. Others work as tax and budget analysts for government institutions or in the private sector as actuaries, equity analysts or data analysts.
Our students work, or have worked, for employers such as:
Career opportunities for economics graduates are in:
Firms that are engaged in manufacturing, banking, insurance, wholesale and retail trade, securities and investment, consulting for private firms and government agencies hire economists. Economists perform a variety of functions for the firms. They forecast economic trends, analyze and interpret the economic environment in which the firm operates and interpret the effects of government policies on the firm. Economists also help the firm in formulating strategies for developing and marketing products and services. They forecast sales, analyze survey data, assess demand conditions, conduct price and cost analysis and perform a variety of statistical work by gathering and processing economic data. An economics graduate may also begin in the actuarial department of insurance companies or work for banks and other financial institutions. They assess risk and help in evaluating the credibility of clients.
A degree in economics is excellent preparation for management training or starting positions in business and industry of all kinds, and in this respect it is an alternative to general management as a major field. An undergraduate major in economics is considered an ideal preparation for pursuing work towards a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree at a graduate school, leading to a career in business.
The salaries and positions of economists vary with the level of training and graduate education in economics.
The U.S. Departments of State, Labor, Agriculture and Commerce are the largest federal employers of economists. There are jobs for economists in the Congressional Budget Office and the Office of Management and Budget for the President and various regulatory commissions. State and local governments also provide ample opportunities for economists. The duties of a governmental economists are very diverse and in large part depend on the particular governmental agency. Economists in the Bureau of Labor Statistics are engaged in analyzing data on prices, wages, employment and productivity. Government economists in the US Department of Commerce study domestic production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services. Economists in the Federal Trade Commission prepare industry analysis to help enforce federal statutes. Economists working in the Agency for International Development or the CIA may work as experts on overseas countries. At the state and local level, economists are more involved in state and local taxation issues, natural resource and environmental issues, budgetary expenditure analysis and developing good state and regional databases.
Salaries in government are somewhat lower than those in the private sector, but the work often deals with interesting public policy questions. A Doctoral degree is most useful for advanced research and policy making positions with independent agencies. Numerous economists are employed by the Federal Reserve, which is the nation's central bank. Economists working for the Fed play a critical role in researching, formulating, and establishing monetary policy. Federal research economists are noted for original research in banking, regional economics and monetary theory. International organizations such as the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and the United Nations also provide tremendous opportunities for professional growth to first-rate economists.
Many economists are employed in colleges and universities as professors, researchers and administrators. In general, graduate degrees are required for such positions - a master's degree for two year colleges, and a doctorate for four institutions. Professors often provide consulting services to various private and governmental organizations. An economics degree is often a stepping stone to further education in other areas. Economics is good preparation for fields such as law, journalism, or planning, all subjects where and advanced degree is required. The accomplishments of economics have established it as perhaps the most successful and prestigious of the social sciences.