Federal, state, and local government agencies offer vast employment opportunities for economists. At the federal level, the departments of agriculture, commerce, labor, and state are the largest employers. These jobs range widely across the fields of agriculture, business, finance, international trade, transportation, urban economics, and utilities.
Many of the jobs in government involve economic analysis. Government economists typically analyze and forecast the impact of changes in laws and public policies. For example, economists at the Federal Trade Commission analyze specific industries in order to help enforce antitrust laws, which are designed to make and keep markets competitive. Economists at the Federal Reserve study monetary conditions and the impact of Federal Reserve monetary policies on the financial markets and the economy. Economists at the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) study prices, wages, productivity, and employment in the national economy. Economists at the Commerce Department prepare and interpret studies on production, consumption, and distribution of goods and services.
Undergraduate training for a career in government should emphasize economic theory and quantitative skills. Course work in economics, accounting, mathematics, statistics, computer information systems, and survey design will greatly enhance your chances of gaining employment in these government jobs. The curriculum requirements for economics majors at UW-Superior include courses in each of these areas.