Economic analysts study how changes in economic regulations and laws affect individuals, businesses and the local, state or national economy. They perform analyses of information in all areas of the economy, and their research often results in detailed reports that are used by both the government and the private sector to make decisions related to economic policy and strategy.
Economic analyst Jobs can be found in nearly all areas of the economy, including universities, businesses, and private organizations, as well as government agencies. They may be called upon to complete specific cost analyses for a health insurance company, for example, or they may work for a governmental agency seeking detailed information on the success of public economic programs.
Generally speaking, the analysis performed by economic analysts is focused on: cost effectiveness, cost benefit, and cost minimization.
Economic Analysts in Government
Economic analyst jobs in government involve performing surveys and studies regarding issues like proposed tax laws so as to measure and forecast the economic impact of such policy changes. In the public sector, these professionals often have access to large databases of collected information, and perform tasks related to data mining, surveys, forecasting and regression analyses.
Economic Analysts in the Private Sector
Businesses and organizations rely on economic analysis to help make the best strategic decisions and better allocate their resources. Economic analysts are often hired by firms in need of analytical models for specific markets or for lawsuits or legislative hearings.
Their systematic approach to gathering and studying economic data allows businesses to do everything from reduce overhead to compare costs to benefits.
Certification Options for Economic Analysts
Economic analysts generally focus their undergraduate education on economics or finance; although advanced degrees in economics or a related field are typically pursued to better compete in this competitive field.
Certification Options Through the Association of Certified Chartered Economists
The Association of Certified Chartered Economists provides professional certification for economic analysts in the following areas for economic analysts:
- Ch.E. – Chartered Economist Certification
- MFP – Master Financial Professional
- RBA – Registered Business Analyst
- RFS – Registered Financial Specialist
- CEPA – Chartered Economic Policy Analyst
- CITA – Certified International Tax Analyst
- CMA – Chartered Market Analyst
Certification Options Through the American Academy of Financial Management
The American Academy of Financial Management (AAFM) offers professional certification in the following areas for economist analysts:
- MFM – Master Financial Professional
Requires a four-year or graduate program from an accredited institution
- ChE – Chartered Certified Economist
Requires 5 years of experience, plus economist education
Each AAFM board certification holder must complete at least 15 hours of more of continuing education credits on an annual basis (15 hours is equivalent to a two-day seminar or conference event.).
Salary and Employment Projections for Economist Analysts
According to the United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for economists was $89,450 in May 2010, with the top 10 percent earning more than $155,490. Employment in this profession is projected to grow by 6 percent from 2010 to 2020.
The median annual salary for economic analysts was $74,350 in May 2010, with the top 10 percent earning more than $141,700. Employment in this profession is projected to increase by 23 percent from 2010 to 2020.
According to the Robert Half 2013 Salary Guide, economic analysts earned between $64,250 and $83,250 in 2012 and are expected to earn between $65,250 and $85,250 in 2013, an increase of 2 percent.
Economic analyst managers of large companies earned between $84,200 and $114,500 in 2012 and are expected to earn between $86,750 and $119,750 in 2013, an increase of 3.9 percent.