Do Economists Make a Lot of Money? Exploring the Salary and Job Outlook of Economists

Do economists make a lot of money? This is a question that may come up in conversations among friends or in online searches. The answer to that question is not straightforward and depends on several factors, such as education, skills, experience, and the job market. However, many economists do make six-figure salaries and enjoy job security, but there are also caveats to this profession.

If you’re considering economics as a career path, you might be wondering if you’ll be able to make a comfortable living out of it. After all, money matters, and you don’t want to invest time and money in a profession that won’t pay off in the long run. So, do economists make a lot of money? Well, the short answer is yes. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in May 2020, the median annual wage for economists was $108,350. That’s significantly higher than the median wage for all occupations, which was $41,950 during the same period.

However, it’s important to note that earning a high income as an economist is not guaranteed, and it requires significant education and skills. Furthermore, not all economists work in high-paying jobs. Some work for nonprofit organizations, academia, or government agencies, where the salaries are usually lower than those in the private sector. That being said, if you’re interested in economics and are willing to put in the work, there are opportunities to make a decent living in this field.

Income of Economists

When it comes to the income of economists, there are many factors that can affect their earning potential. These include their level of education, work experience, industry of employment, and geographic location.

  • Level of Education: Economists typically require a master’s or Ph.D. degree in economics to qualify for advanced positions. A higher level of education can result in higher salaries.
  • Work Experience: Experienced economists who have worked in the field for several years can earn salaries in the six-figure range.
  • Industry of Employment: Economists can work in a variety of industries, including government, education, finance, and research institutions. Salaries can vary depending on the industry of employment.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for economists in the United States was $105,020 as of May 2020. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $62,210, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $186,110.

IndustryMedian Annual Wage (May 2020)
Federal Government$122,940
Management, Scientific, and Technical Consulting Services$102,810
Research and Development in the Social Sciences and Humanities$98,980

While the income of economists can vary, it is generally considered to be a lucrative profession that offers a competitive salary and numerous opportunities for career advancement.

Wealth of Economists

One of the most commonly asked questions when considering a career in economics is: do economists make a lot of money? While it’s true that not all economists are wealthy, the field offers substantial earning potential for those with the right skills and expertise. Here, we’ll explore the intricacies of economist compensation to shed some light on this question.

The Factors That Affect Economist Salaries

  • Industry: Economists who work in investment banking, consulting, or government tend to make more than those who work in academia or non-profit organizations.
  • Experience: As with any career, the more experience you have, the higher your salary potential.
  • Education Level: Economists with advanced degrees, such as PhDs or Masters, tend to have higher salaries than those with only a Bachelor’s degree.

The Average Salary for Economists

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median pay for economists was $105,020 as of May 2020. However, the top 10% of earners in the field make more than $185,020 per year.

It’s also important to note that economist salaries vary greatly depending on where an individual lives and works. For example, a staff economist in Washington D.C. might make more than one in a smaller city because the cost of living is higher.

Earnings Potential for Economists in Specific Industries

IndustryAverage Salary
Investment Banking$157,820
Consulting$139,320
Government$112,850
Academia$87,690

As the table shows, economists in investment banking and consulting tend to earn the most, with government economists not far behind. Academic economists earn the least, but may have the benefit of more flexible working hours and job security.

While not all economists are wealthy, the field is known for its potential for high earnings. With the right combination of education, experience, and industry, economists can and do make a comfortable living. Additionally, those who achieve the higher end of the pay scale may enjoy benefits such as flexible work arrangements, travel opportunities, and interesting, intellectually challenging work.

Salary of Economists

One of the most frequent questions that is asked in regards to careers in economics is whether or not they are lucrative. While it is true that there’s no guarantee that any specific career will lead to high earnings, the field of economics does offer some potential for well-paying jobs.

  • According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for economists was $104,340 in 2020.
  • The top 10% of economists earned $185,020 or more per year, while the bottom 10% earned less than $60,810.
  • The government is the leading employer of economists, followed by scientific research and development services, finance and insurance, and management and technical consulting services.

As with most careers, the amount of money an economist makes will depend on a number of factors, such as location, experience, education, and the industry they work in.

According to a study conducted by the National Association of Business Economics, economists who held a Ph.D. had higher salaries than those without a Ph.D. The study found that those with a Ph.D. in economics earned an average of $124,000 per year, while those with a master’s degree earned an average of $80,000 per year.

Finally, it’s worth noting that earning a high salary as an economist can depend on factors beyond just education and experience. Networking, reputation, and the ability to engage in high-level analysis and critical thinking can also play a role in determining an economist’s earning potential.

IndustryMedian Annual Salary
Government$104,040
Scientific Research and Development Services$118,590
Finance and Insurance$113,900
Management and Technical Consulting Services$128,800

In conclusion, while there are no guarantees that a career in economics will lead to high earnings, the field does offer some potential for well-paying jobs. An economist’s salary will depend on a variety of factors, including education, experience, location, and industry. It’s important to keep in mind that networking, reputation, and critical thinking skills can also play a role in determining an economist’s earning potential.

Compensation of Economists

While economists may not be among the highest-paid professionals, they still earn a profitable salary. The compensation of economists varies depending on several factors, including their level of education, experience, and industry. Below are some key factors that determine the earnings of economists:

  • Educational level: Economists generally require a graduate degree, such as a master’s or Ph.D. in economics. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), economists with a master’s degree earn a median salary of $101,050, while those with a Ph.D. earn a median salary of $123,240.
  • Industry: Economists work in a variety of industries, such as government, finance, education, and consulting. Those who work for the federal government tend to earn the highest salaries, followed by those who work in the securities, commodities, and financial services industries.
  • Experience: As with most professions, experience can lead to higher salaries for economists. According to the BLS, economists with less than one year of experience earn an average salary of $64,790, while those with 20 or more years of experience earn an average salary of $168,010.

Additionally, the location of an economist can influence their salary. Economists who work in high-cost areas, such as New York City or San Francisco, typically earn higher salaries to accommodate for the increased living expenses.

The table below, also provided by the BLS, shows the mean annual wage of economists by industry as of May 2020:

IndustryMean Annual Wage
Federal Executive Branch (OES Designation)$131,350
Securities, Commodities, and Financial Services$122,390
Management, Scientific, and Technical Consulting Services$109,970
State Government, Excluding Education and Hospitals$93,690
Local Government, Excluding Education and Hospitals$82,870

Overall, economists can earn a comfortable living, with salaries varying depending on several factors such as education, industry, and location.

Earnings of Economists

Many people wonder if a career in economics is financially rewarding. While it ultimately depends on various factors such as job position, level of education, and location, economists generally make a good income. Here are some details about the earnings of economists:

  • The median annual salary for economists in the US is $105,020 as of May 2020 according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. The lowest 10% earned less than $62,840, and the highest 10% earned more than $185,020.
  • Economists who work in the federal government, scientific research and development services, and finance and insurance tend to earn higher salaries compared to those who work for academic institutions.
  • Apart from the base salary, some economists may also receive bonuses, profit-sharing, and other forms of compensation, which can significantly increase their income.

However, there are different factors that can influence the earning potential of an economist:

  • Education: Economists generally need a master’s degree or Ph.D. to work in research or teaching. Those with higher levels of education tend to earn more than those with a bachelor’s degree.
  • Specialization: Fields such as health economics, environmental economics, and econometrics tend to be more lucrative and in high demand, which can lead to higher salaries.
  • Experience: Economists with more years of experience often earn higher salaries as they gain more expertise and contribute to the organization.
  • Location: The earnings of economists can vary by location due to differences in the cost of living, demand for the field, and industry. States such as California, New York, and Massachusetts tend to have higher salaries for economists due to their high demand and cost of living.

It’s important to note that while economists may make a good income, money should not be the sole factor when considering this career path. The job satisfaction, fulfillment, and passion for the field should also be taken into consideration.

Job TitleMedian Salary (May 2020)
Economist$105,020
Financial Quantitative Analyst$104,309
Professor of Economics$102,590
Financial Advisor$88,890

In conclusion, economists generally make a good income, with many earning over $100,000 a year. However, earning potential may vary depending on the level of education, specialization, experience, and location. Money should not be the sole factor when deciding on a career path, but it’s helpful to know the earning potential of a field.

Job prospects of Economists

Economics is a field that offers a promising career with stable job prospects. Economists work in a variety of industries, including government, consulting firms, financial institutions, and research organizations. Their work involves analyzing economic trends, forecasting future economic conditions, and providing insight on how economic policies impact different sectors of society.

  • Government: The government employs a significant number of economists in various departments, including the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Department of Treasury, and the Federal Reserve. Economists in government positions earn an average of $102,000 per year.
  • Consulting firms: Many consulting firms hire economists to provide economic analysis and advice to clients. Economists in consulting positions earn an average of $120,000 per year.
  • Financial institutions: Banks, investment firms, and insurance companies also employ economists to provide economic analysis for investment decisions. Economists in finance positions earn an average of $125,000 per year.

Overall, the median annual wage for economists was $104,340 in May 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The top 10 percent of economists earned more than $185,020, while the bottom 10 percent earned less than $58,130.

In terms of job prospects, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that employment of economists will grow 14 percent from 2019 to 2029, which is much faster than the average for all occupations. This growth is expected to be driven by increasing demand for economists in consulting firms, financial institutions, and government agencies.

IndustryMedian annual wage (May 2020)
Federal government$120,050
Management, scientific, and technical consulting services$118,080
Credit intermediation and related activities$115,090
State government, excluding education and hospitals$86,580
Local government, excluding education and hospitals$78,550

In conclusion, economists have a promising career outlook with plenty of job opportunities. The average salary for economists is above the national median wage, and the field is projected to grow in the coming years as demand increases for economic analysis in various industries.

Growth opportunities for Economists

For those pursuing a career in economics, there are a variety of growth opportunities available in the field. These opportunities range from advancing within one’s current organization to branching out into new industries or academia. Below, we explore some of the top growth opportunities for economists.

  • Private sector consulting: Many economists work for consulting firms, providing expert analysis and advice to clients in industries such as healthcare, energy, and finance. Advancement opportunities within these firms can include promotion to higher levels of seniority, or even partnership.
  • Government roles: Economists can work for a variety of government agencies, such as the Federal Reserve, the Department of Treasury, or the Congressional Budget Office. Advancement opportunities can include more senior roles within these agencies, as well as the opportunity to move into political appointments or other government roles.
  • Academic positions: Many economists work in academia, either as professors or researchers. Advancement opportunities can include promotion to tenured positions, as well as the opportunity to take on additional leadership roles within a university or research organization.

In addition to these opportunities, economists may also choose to pursue careers in other industries, such as healthcare or technology. For example, an economist could work for a healthcare company to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of certain treatments or procedures. Alternatively, an economist could work for a technology company to analyze market trends and inform business strategy.

Overall, the career path for economists offers a wide range of potential growth opportunities, both within and outside of the field. With a strong foundation in economic theory and analysis, economists are well-positioned to succeed in a variety of roles and industries.

IndustryMedian Salary (U.S.)
Consulting$85,000
Government$105,000
Academia$80,000
Healthcare$90,000
Technology$95,000

While salary levels can vary depending on factors such as experience and location, economists in any of these industries can expect to earn a competitive salary and have opportunities for career growth and advancement.

FAQs: Do Economists Make a Lot of Money?

Q: How much do economists make on average?
A: The average salary for economists in the United States is $104,340 per year. However, this can vary depending on factors such as location, industry, and experience.

Q: Do all economists make six-figure salaries?
A: No, not all economists make six-figure salaries. Entry-level positions in the field may pay less and salaries can range depending on the specific job and the employer.

Q: Can economists make even more money through bonuses or commissions?
A: Yes, economists can have the opportunity to make additional money through profit sharing, bonuses, or commissions, depending on their employer and job duties.

Q: What industries pay economists the highest salaries?
A: Economists working in finance and insurance, as well as management, scientific, and technical consulting services tend to earn the highest salaries.

Q: Do economists in academia make less money than those in the private sector?
A: Yes, economists who work in academia typically earn less than those in the private sector. However, academia does offer other benefits such as job security, flexible schedules, and opportunities for research.

Q: Is becoming an economist a good career choice for someone looking to make a lot of money?
A: While becoming an economist can lead to a solid salary, it should not be the sole factor in someone’s career decision. It is important to choose a career that aligns with one’s interests and strengths.

Thanks for Reading!

I hope these FAQs about economist salaries were helpful in giving you a better idea of what to expect. Remember that while pay is important, it should not be the only factor in considering a career. Thanks for reading and be sure to check back for more informative content!