What economists can expect to earn in different fields
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook (online in 2023) reports annual wages for economists. For economists of all educational levels, the median earnings in 2021 were $105,630 with $62,460 at the tenth percentile and $193,690 at the 90th percentile.
Median Annual Wages for Economists in May 2021 in the Top Five Industries Employing Economists (from the Occupation Outlook Handbook)
|Finance and insurance||$163,640|
|Federal government, excluding postal service||$125,950|
|Management, scientific, and technical consulting services||$117,510|
|Scientific research and development services||$101,910|
|State and local government, excluding education and hospitals||$82,220|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Economists. (Visited May 4, 2023).
Payscale.com reports its survey of people with Baccalaureate degrees (and no more) who are employed full time, showing starting salaries (typically with two-years of experience) and mid-career annual earnings. Here are selected occupations for the 2021 report.
|College Major||Starting Salary||Mid-career Salary|
|Operations Research & Industrial Engineering||$84,800||$170,400|
|Electrical Engineering & Computer Science||$108,500||$159,300|
|Applied Economics and Management||$66,100||$146,400|
|Electrical Power Engineering||$76,100||$142,600|
Source: Majors That Pay You Back, Payscale.comFor more information about academic salaries in economics, check out the Universal Academic Questionnaire (UAQ) published each year in AEA Papers and Proceedings. The UAQ is a survey of US economics departments taken each fall. One survey is addressed to the chair of the Department of Economics of each institution. Another resource is the annual "Survey of the Labor Market for New Ph.D. Hires in Economics" conducted by the Center for Business and Economic Research at the University of Arkansas.