Economists held about 13,000 jobs in 2004. Government employed 58 percent of economists, in a wide range of government agencies, with 34 percent in Federal government and 24 percent in State and local government. The U.S. Departments of Labor, Agriculture, and State are the largest Federal employers of economists. The remaining jobs were spread throughout private industry, particularly in scientific research and development services and management, scientific, and technical consulting services. A number of economists combine a full-time job in government, academia, or business with part-time or consulting work in another setting.
Employment of economists is concentrated in large cities. Some work abroad for companies with major international operations, for U.S. Government agencies, and for international organizations, such as the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, and United Nations.
In addition to the previously mentioned jobs, economists hold faculty positions in colleges and universities. Economics faculties have flexible work schedules and may divide their time among teaching, research, consulting, and administration. (See the statement on teacherspostsecondary elsewhere in the Handbook.)