The job title of “economist” is a pretty cool one to be able to put on a business card. Perhaps it’s because of the air of authority the title “economist” evokes. Being a economist entails collecting and analyzing data, researching tends and evaluating economic issues for resources, goods and services. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) Occupational Outlook Handbook, employment of economists is projected to increase faster than average, with approximately 1,700 new economist jobs being added from 2018 to 2028, an increase of 8%. There are currently only 21,000 economists in the United States.
Using occupational data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, we’ve analyzed and compiled a round-up of the average economist salary by state in the U.S. Read on for a full breakdown of where economists make the most money, and where they’re making the least.
10 States Where Economists Earn the Most Money
The national average annual wage of an economist is $116,020, according to the BLS, which is more than double the average annual salary for all occupations, $51,960. However, the average economist salary swings significantly from this depending on the state you’re in. The worst-paying states for economists pays on average nearly $55,000 less than the national average.
Here’s a look at the top-10 states where economist salaries are the highest:
- New York average economist salary: $127,520
- Virginia average economist salary: $126,080
- Ohio average economist salary: $125,490
- California average economist salary: $124,430
- Massachusetts average economist salary: $117,680
- Maryland average economist salary: $116,870
- Missouri average economist salary: $112,240
- Georgia average economist salary: $111,570
- Illinois average economist salary: $108,690
- Texas average economist salary: $106,480
There are 15 states in which the average economist salary is higher than $100,000. Though New York takes the No. 1 spot, if you look at change over time, the state’s wage growth for the last five years is wanting. In New York, economist salaries increased by only 7.4% from 2013 to 2018, while in No. 5 Massachusetts the average rose by 23.6%, and in No. 4 California the average economist salary grew by 27.2%.
Related: The Best States to Start a Business
10 States Where Economists Earn the Least Money
The bottom-10 states where economists make the least money are a geographically mainly located in the U.S. South, Midwest and Mountain division of the West. Though economist salaries are lower here, these states in general have cheaper-than-average cost of living. There are 16 states in which the average economist salary is over $30,000 less than the U.S. overall average.
Here’s a look at the 10 worst states for economist’s salaries:
- Idaho average economist salary: $61,130
- West Virginia average economist salary: $68,430
- South Carolina average economist salary: $68,550
- Kansas average economist salary: $72,600
- New Hampshire average economist salary: $74,570
- Arkansas average economist salary: $75,380
- Mississippi average economist salary: $75,450
- Oklahoma average economist salary: $76,500
- Nevada average economist salary: $79,170
- Wisconsin average economist salary: $80,070
There is some good news, for West Virginia at least. In that state, the average economist salary has grown by an incredible 38.2%, from $49,500 in 2013 to $68,430 in 2018. Although still substantially lower than the national average, West Virginia’s salary trajectory is strongly positive, unlike some other worst-paying states, like South Carolina where incomes have outright declined in the last five years. Economist salaries dropped the most in Indiana, where the average annual wage went from $198,120 in 2013, down to $84,740.
How Much Do Economists Make in Each State
Below you’ll find the average annual wage for economists for as many states that the BLS had data for, from 2013 to 2018.
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