Powering Up Your Earnings: The Economist Salary Breakdown
The salary of an economist can vary depending on factors such as their level of experience, education, location, and employer. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary for economists was $105,630 in May 2021. The top 10% earned more than $193,690, while the bottom 10% earned less than $62,460.
According to BLS data, economists working in the federal government had the highest median annual salary at $120,810, followed by those working in research and development services ($114,020) and professional, scientific, and technical services ($104,520). Economists working in state government had a median salary of $86,190, while those working in local government earned a median salary of $85,290.
The BLS data shows that economists working in the Washington DC metropolitan area had the highest median annual salary at $128,830, followed by those working in the San Francisco metropolitan area ($115,990) and the New York metropolitan area ($111,460). Economists working in the nonmetropolitan areas of the Pacific region had the highest median salary at $138,700, while those working in the nonmetropolitan areas of the South had the lowest median salary at $87,720.
Economists with a Ph.D. tend to make more than those with a master's degree or bachelor's degree.
Bachelor's degree: The BLS does not have specific data on the median salary for economists with a bachelor's degree, but they do have data on the median salary for all occupations requiring a bachelor's degree, which was $68,050.
Master's degree: The median annual salary for economists with a master's degree was $103,480.
Ph.D.: The median annual salary for economists with a Ph.D. was $130,920.
Level of experience
Entry-level economists with a bachelor's degree may earn a median salary of around $60,000 to $70,000 per year, while those with a master's degree may earn a median salary of around $75,000 to $90,000 per year.
Economists with several years of experience and a Ph.D. degree can earn significantly more, with a median salary of around $120,000 to $150,000 per year or more. With more experience, economists may be promoted to management or senior positions, which can also lead to higher salaries.
Generally, economists working for large private companies or government organizations tend to earn higher salaries than those working for non-profit organizations or small businesses. Additionally, economists working in large cities or regions with a high cost of living may also earn higher salaries than those working in more rural or less expensive areas.