Economist Salary- A Salary Guide

Anytime you turn on the news, it is guaranteed that you will come across some discussion regarding the economic scenario of the nation or some state. You don’t even need to know the news to know the importance of economics, as even day-to-day conversations with your contemporaries can often include the topic.

After all, it is the guiding science behind the relationship between the resources of a society and its utilization within it. As it is such an important field of social science, one might beg the question, what is the economic standing of economists themselves in the US.

It is important to remember that due to economics being a complex science, it also offers a wide range of job opportunities with equally varying salaries. However, a basic understanding of how yielding the job is in terms of salary can be obtained by analyzing the average and the median salaries.

According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary of economists across the nation was $108,350 annually in 2020, which is around $52.09 per hour. However, to better understand the earning of a salary, it is important to subdivide our sample space further and analyze them carefully. 

How Much Money Does An Economist Earn?- Economist Salary

The amount of money a job offers is directly proportional to how important it is to contemporary society and how much weight it carries. Taking that as our parameters, it is obvious that economists should be among the cluster of high-paying jobs. After all, they are responsible for studying the relationship between the resources a society has and how society utilizes them, allowing them to strategize for efficient outputs.

They do so by collecting data and analyzing them using various mathematical and statistical models and researching related economic issues. Thus, they are responsible for policies by businesses, such as advising them how to participate in markets and other corporate strategies, aiding governments in tasks like setting up tax rates and economic agreements, and can also help individuals in helping them find the best investments suiting them.

Hence, depending on the tasks assigned to them, the salary of economists varies similarly. The variations can be understood by comparing them to the median annual wages in total. According to the U.S. Bureau of labor statistics, the median annual wages of economists working strictly in finance and insurance was about $129k annually in 2020, clearly above the median total salary of $108k annually in 2020 by 21k.

Further going through the information provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, a job in the federal government (excluding the postal service) allowed you to earn around $125k annually in 2020 (likely to remain around the same in the future), which was about $17k more than the total median.

Economists involved in jobs related to scientific research and development services had been offered around $122k annually, which is $14k more than the total median. Economists working for management or were involved with consulting services were paid around $111k, which is around $3k more than the total median. On the other hand, the median annual salary offered to economists working in jobs involved with the state governments (excluding education and hospitals) was around $73k, which is $35k less than the total median. 

Jeff Bezos Career Advice
Jeff Bezos Career Advice

It is important to remember that the given figures are medians, which means the salaries offered to an individual can vastly increase or decrease. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the top 10 percent of economists around the U.S. earned about $198k annually in 2020, which is $90K more than the median.

While in the same year, the bottom 10 percent of the economists around the U.S. earned about $59k, which is $49k less than the median. Hence, while considering the salary of an economist, it is important to consider variations caused by both the type of job and the range of salary within the job itself. However, these parameters contribute two forms: the third parameter of variation is the salary, the state in which an economist is working.

How Much Money Do Economists Earn Depending on the State?

It has already been discussed,  the salary of an economist varies depending on the type of job. Hence, the demand for a job is also a deciding factor causing variation in its salary. Furthermore, different states have different labor demands causing a variation in the salary of the economist directly based on location.

Therefore, the comparisons of the salaries offered to economists in each state will be conducted by taking the median annual salary as the base, which according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, is around $108k. Although it is better than the average value of salary for calculations, the estimated average is around $110k annually. Hence I will use the median value as a base because it is near the average, and its value can be verified easily.

An economist working in New York can expect to be paid around $106k annually, which is at a difference of nearly $2k from the median. However, it is important to consider that the average good salary in New York is considered to be about $40k annually (considering only an individual) to live a comfortable life.

Still, it should be around $81k if all other benefits are included. Therefore, the salary of an economist is a very desirable one, which is about $66k more ($25k more if the higher end of the base is considered) than the baseline in the state.

An economist trying to find a job in D.C. can expect to be offered an annual salary of around $120k, which is $12k more than the median. Now, the average income required to live a comfortable life in D.C is about $80k per year. Therefore, the average offered salary is more than enough to uphold a comfortable lifestyle, with it being $40k more than the baseline in that state.

On the other hand, an economist might be offered a salary of about $115k annually in Massachusetts, which is $7k more than the median. As an individual, the minimum income one might have to live comfortably in this state is around $50k-$60k. Hence, it is obvious that the salary of an economist is more than enough to support oneself in the state.

In North Dakota, the average annual salary offered to economists is about $110k, which is $2k more than the median. However, studies have pointed out that individuals who earn more than $75k are truly happy. Compared to the salary offered, one has $35k more happiness working as an economist in this state.

In Connecticut, the average annual salary of economists is about $108k, which is nearly the same as the median. Although the baseline for salaries in this state is around $43k annually, an annual salary of around $73k is required to live a more than comfortable life. Hence, an economist clearly can live a more than comfortable life in this state.

An economist trying to find work in Montana will probably be offered a salary of about $118k annually, which is $10k more than the median salary. To live a comfortable life in Montana, it is advisable to try to earn more than $64k in the state. Hence, it is clear that an economist working in the state crosses that bar by $54k. On the other hand, economists working either in Virginia or Vermont are offered a salary of about $102k annually, which is $6k less than the median.

However, in Vermont, the salaries can reach a maximum of around $181k per year, while in Virginia, it reaches a maximum of about $178k per year. To live in Virginia, one must earn more than $83k annually, which an economist can earn while in Vermont. Economists can earn more than $73k annually. Thus, a baseline one must cross to live comfortably in that state.

In Iowa, economists are averagely offered a sum of around $100k per year, which is $8k less than the median. However, an income of $70k per year is more than enough for an individual to live a comfortable life in the state, a threshold which the salary of the average income of an economist in the state crosses by $30k. In South Dakota, an economist is offered around $118k per year, which is $10k more than the median. In the state, if one wants to live comfortably, their income needs to cross a threshold of about $50k per year, which the average salary of an economist easily crosses by $68k.

In California, an economist earns an average of $101k annually, which is $7k less than the median. The recommended average annual salary for living comfortably in the state is around $74k per year. The average annual salary in the state is more, leading over the recommended requirement by $27k. In New Hampshire, an economist can be offered a salary of about $104k per year, which is $4k less than the median. To live comfortably in the state, they need to earn about $69k per year. Thus, an economist’s salary crosses the threshold by about. 

Economists’ salaries in other states are $10k less than the national median, with the lowest average belonging to Tennessee, which is around $63k per year, a whopping $45k lower than the national median. Hence, it is obvious that the lifestyle offered by becoming an economist varies greatly with the state. Therefore, while considering working as an economist, it is important to evaluate the average salary one can get in the state, and the average income one needs to live comfortably.

How Does the Salary of an Economist Compare with High-Paying Jobs in the U.S?

To properly evaluate how good the salary of a certain job is, it is important to analyze it concerning the national average income of professionals in other high-paying jobs and the national average income of all jobs in the nation. For example, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, economists in the U.S. are paid around $108k per year. On the other hand, the average income of all occupations in the U.S. is about $53k per year. Hence, it can be concluded that the average salary of an economist is about $55k more than the national average of all jobs.

 The highest paying jobs in the U.S. are the ones dealing with medicine. Across the nation, the highest salary belongs to anesthesiologists, with their median annual salary being around $261k, which is $153k more than that of economists. The median annual salary of surgeons in the U.S. is about $252k, which is $144k more than economists’. Other medical professions such as orthodontists, psychiatrists, and physicians offer an average salary of about $233k, which is $115k more than economists.

Airplane pilots and flight engineers in the U.S. earn a median annual salary of about $147k, which is $38k more than that of economics. In comparison, computer managers earn about $146k annually, and architectural/engineering managers earn about $144k annually, earning $38k and $36k more than economists, respectively. Compared to petroleum engineers, who earn a median annual salary of about $137k, economists earn $28k less.

However, it is important to remember that the median annual salary considered in the case of economists is taking into account all the types of jobs economists can perform. If we cherry-pick our sample space, we can increase our median annual salary, which can be around $136k. The bottom line is that in the U.S., the job of an economist is clearly a desirable one, and although it might not top the list, it is deserving of the demand it has in the country.

How To Be an Economist? 

After evaluating the proper parameters related to the salary offered by the occupation of an economist, if one finds the job suitable for supporting their livelihood, there are certain requirements and duties they should fulfill to get a job as an economist.

The steps that one should take to get a high paying post as an economist in the country are:

  • The first thing to do is earn a bachelor’s degree, majoring in economics which takes about four years.
  • Try to get relevant work experience by applying for internships, which although isn’t compulsory but is advisable to partake in.
  • To be able to distinguish oneself from their peers, it is important for one to also pursue a master’s degree, which can either be an MBA with an economics concentration or a master’s in economics.
  • Finally, it is time to start looking for fulltime work experience, which will slowly make one better in their field, allowing them to negotiate better salaries as time passes.
  • If one truly wants to be absolutely polished in the field of economics, they have the option to opt for a Ph.D.

Conclusion

It goes with saying how important the occupation of economists is, as they are an important part of the contemporary society, responsible for pulling its levers to make it properly function. Although the field of medicine is currently untouched as the king of all professions, the occupation of the economist has one of the best futures amongst all the other occupations. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for economists is increasing at a rate of 14%, which is a lot faster than the national average. Taking this along with an average annual salary much greater than the national average, economists stand as one of the desirable occupations in the U.S.

FAQs

  • How favorable is it to be an economist currently?
    According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for economists is increasing at a rate of 14% which is much faster than the average, hence it is favorable to opt for economics currently.

  • How much will an economist earn in California?
    The salary of an economist in California, varies from $57k to $182k per year, with the average annual salary being about $101k.

  • How much will an economist earn in Texas?
    The salary of an economist in Texas, varies from $48k to $161k per year, with the average annual salary being about $88k.

  • What to pursue, an MBA with an economics concentration or a master’s in economics?
    If you want to focus more on business knowledge while co-relating it to economics, then go for an MBA with an economics concentration. If economics is the priority, to pursue information involving micro and macroeconomics and applied economics, then a master’s in economics should be the goal.

Also, Read How to get promoted at work?

Economist Salary- A Salary Guide

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