Careers in Economics

Student intern in computer lab.

Why the World Needs Economists

There are several reasons the demand for economists has increased steadily over the past few decades. As economics transitioned into an applied science, (a change made possible by powerful computers, advanced mathematical and statistical software, and the collection of detailed datasets by government agencies such as the Bureau of Labor Statistics, research organizations such as the National Bureau of Economic Research and universities such as UB), economics graduates became capable of offering employers previously unavailable and highly sought-after analytic insights. 

Secondly, the scarcity of global resources has generated the need for ever-wider application of economic analysis. Organizations that had never thought in economics terms before are now in need of experts to guide their growth and develop their ability to adapt to the modern economy. Economics is a science whose time is here, and the need for well-trained and versatile economists will only continue to grow. 

What Do We Study?

Economists study how society distributes scarce resources, including land, labor, raw materials and machinery to produce goods and services. They collect and analyze data, monitor economic trends and develop forecasts. Their research is often tied to issues such as energy costs, inflation, interest rates, exchange rates, business cycles, taxes or unemployment levels.

Economists also devise methods and procedures for obtaining the data they need. For example, sampling techniques may be used to conduct a survey, and various mathematical modeling techniques may be used to develop forecasts. Preparing reports, including tables and charts, on research results is an important part of an economist’s job. Presenting economic and statistical concepts in a clear and meaningful way is particularly important for economists whose research is directed toward making policies for an organization.

How Much Do Economists Make?

The Occupational Employment Statistics, published by the Bureau of Labour Statistics, estimates the employment, annual wage and mean wage for economists. 

Popular Career Paths

The most popular careers in economics are in financial services, including: brokerage firms (e.g. Merrill Lynch), investment banks (e.g. JP Morgan), retail banks (e.g. M&T Bank) and insurance companies (e.g. AIG). Careers in finance generally fit within two classifications: sales (e.g. financial advisor) and analysis (e.g. financial analyst).

Economics is applicable in so many fields that our graduates are now working in such varied areas as consulting, retail management, consumer goods industries, advertising, publishing and the health sector with non-profit research organizations, U.S. government agencies (local, state and federal), and leading organizations such as the World Bank, United Nations agencies and the International Monetary Fund.

Career Resources

Jobs for Economists

  • Accountant
  • Actuary
  • Auditor
  • Bank officer
  • City manager
  • Compensation and benefits manager
  • Consultant
  • Controller
  • Credit analyst
  • Educator
  • Environmental economist
  • Financial analyst
  • Foreign exchange trader
  • Forensic economist
  • Insurance agent
  • Investment advisor
  • Lawyer
  • Market research analyst
  • Personnel manager
  • Policy analyst/economist
  • Political scientist
  • Securities analyst
  • Statistician
  • Stockbroker
  • Systems analyst
  • Trust officer
  • Underwriter
  • Urban planner