Salary of an Economics Major: How Much Do Graduates Earn?

Nov 22, 2019

Economics major salary can depend on the type of degree, the job title, and several other factors. Here we explore some of the reported salaries for those with a background in economics, as well as a few different jobs for economic majors.

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Economics Major Salary

While salary can vary greatly based on a number of factors, including job title, employer, and years of experience, there are data on salaries for economics majors. PayScale.com reported that graduates with a Bachelor of Science (BS/BSc) in Economics made an average annual salary of $70,000 in November 2019. The website also reported that graduates with a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Economics made an average salary of $72,000 for the same time period.

Graduate Economics Degree Salary

At the graduate level, students can choose from a Master of Science (MS) or Master of Arts (MA) in Economics, as well as a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in the field. PayScale.com reported that in November 2019, graduates with an MS in Economics made an average annual salary of $77,000, while those with an MA in the field made a median salary of $76,000. Graduates with a Ph.D. in Economics made an average salary of $101,000.

Economist Salary by State and Industry

The BLS further explores the salary of economists by location and industry. The highest paying state for economists in 2018 behind the District of Columbia (average salary of $134,260) was New York with an average annual salary of $127,520. Other top-paying states for economists included Virginia, Ohio, and California.

The top-paying industry at this time (2018) for economists was legal services, where economists made an average salary of $228,620. The next highest-paying industry was management, scientific, and technical consulting services, where economists made an average salary of $133,130.

Jobs for Economics Majors

Options are available for economics majors in fields like business, education, and law. Some of these career options may require additional schooling, training, and/or professional certification, but some additional career options include job titles like:

  • Market research analyst
  • Auditor
  • Financial analyst
  • Consultant
  • Personal financial advisor
  • Lawyer
  • Professor
  • Investment banker
  • Entrepreneur

Economist

According to the BLS, economists collect and analyze data that examines the production and dispersal of goods to help governments, businesses, and other organizations make economic decisions and need at least a bachelor's degree in economics. Other job duties may include:

  • Preparing reports and/or articles
  • Predicting market trends
  • Creating possible solutions to economic issues
  • Utilizing software, mathematical models, and more to analyze data

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) stated that the median annual salary for an economist in 2018 was $104,340 and the average annual salary was $116,020.

Financial Analyst

The BLS reported that financial analysts made an annual median salary of $85,660 in 2018 and need at least a bachelor's degree in a field like economics, finance, accounting, or mathematics. These analysts help individuals, businesses, and other organizations make sound investment decisions based on the performance of various investments. This may require financial analysts to:

  • Research economic trends
  • Evaluate financial statements and past financial data
  • Make investment suggestions for investment portfolios
  • Write reports with financial findings

Personal Financial Advisor

Personal financial advisors made a median salary of $88,890 in 2018, per the BLS, and usually need at least a bachelor's degree. This degree can be in economics, law, business, and other related fields, but aspiring financial advisors may also take college coursework in subjects like estate planning and taxes. These professionals help advise individuals in a range of financial topics, such as insurance, retirement plans, and mortgages, to help clients meet their personal financial goals. Job duties for a personal financial advisor may include:

  • Discussing financial goals with clients
  • Making recommendations about different investments
  • Answering any questions clients may have about investments
  • Evaluate client accounts and make changes as necessary
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