Department of Economics

Prospective Students

What is Economics?

Economics is the study of how individuals and groups make decisions with limited resources as to best satisfy their wants, needs, and desires.

— Mike Moffatt, What is Economics? on About.com

What does an Economist do?

Economists apply economic analysis to issues within a variety of fields, such as education, health, development, and the environment. Some economists study the cost of products, healthcare, or energy. Others examine employment levels, business cycles, or exchange rates. Still others analyze the effect of taxes, inflation, or interest rates.

Economists often study historical trends and use them to make forecasts. They research and analyze data using a variety of software programs, including spreadsheets, statistical analysis, and database management programs.

— Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook on BLS.gov

How much can an Economist expect to make?

The median annual wage of economists was $89,450 in May 2010. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than the amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $48,250, and the top 10 percent earned more than $155,490.

Median annual wages in the industries employing the largest numbers of economists in May 2010 were as follows:

Industry Median Annual Wage
Scientific research and development services $109,720
Federal executive branch 106,840
Management, scientific, and technical consulting services 93,250
Local government 69,950
State government 61,620

— Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook on BLS.gov

Popular Jobs for Economics Majors

— For more popular jobs check out Payscale.com - Jobs for Social Science Majors, Ranker.com - Most Popular Jobs for Economics Majors or About.com - Jobs for Economics Majors.

What is the difference between Microeconomics and Macroeconomics?

Microeconomics is the study of particular markets, and segments of the economy. It looks at issues such as consumer behaviour, individual labour markets, and the theory of firms.

Macroeconomics is the study of the whole economy. It looks at 'aggregate' variables, such as aggregate demand, national output and inflation.

— Tejvan Pettinger, Difference Between Microeconomics and Macroeconomics on EconomicsHelp.org


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