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Job Prospects for Applied Economics Majors

written by: S Wood•edited by: Elizabeth Wistrom•updated: 12/7/2010

Applied economics is the major in the economics program that allows students seek employment soon after they graduate. The job prospects for applied economics majors are better outside of the field of economics, because of the paucity of the jobs in economics area and need for advanced education.

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    What are the Job Prospects for Applied Economics Majors?

    A common question from students who like to opt for applied economics is, “What are the job prospects for applied economics majors?" The prospects are good from the view that they can enter the job market soon. It’s unlike the potential for students from other economics streams. In these cases, graduates should have significant experience or advanced degrees in economics. Be aware, however, opportunities mainly exist in areas other than economics.

    Graph About Applied Economics: Applied economics deals with the application of theories to handle real-world economic problems, using mathematical and statistical methods. This branch of economics sees complex economic problems with an “application eye."

    To implement its goal of application approach to handle difficult economic problems, the applied economics curriculum includes courses that equip students with the necessary skills. Some such courses are Business Environment, Managerial Economics, Applied Microeconomic Analysis, Analysis of Economic Data, and Monetary Policy.

    What Applied Economists Do: They use techniques like mathematical analysis to effectively address economic matters that affect the business environment. From economic forecasts to the evaluation of competitor’s business growth to the analysis of the impact of governmental policies on industries, such professionals perform a range of critical functions. These works lay a strong foundation for, among other things, better decision making and optimal utilization of resources.

    Is Applied Economics for You? If you’re a practitioner rather than a theoretician, you’ll enjoy working in the field of applied economics. With solid analytical, problem-solving and quantitative skills, you can take your economics career to a new level. Excellent communication skills are also mandatory to thrive in this field.

    Job Prospects for Applied Economics Majors: Applied economics, because of its emphasis on application, opens the doors for jobs soon after graduation. The same is not usually true for theoretical economics graduates. In fact, applied economics majors are in the same line as those with undergraduate business degrees in the job market. Due to the unique skills they possess that are in demand, applied economics majors have a lead in the job race.

    A word of caution - the path in the employment landscape for economists, in general, isn’t that bright. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the “employment of economists is expected to grow more slowly than the average for all occupations."

    In today’s poor economy, you may not find much jobs with the title Applied Economist. Such a position allows you to work exclusively in the field of economics. Other job functions, such as financial analysis and market research, however, let you leverage your applied economics skills to the maximum.

    Competition in the Job Market: If you’re in it to find a job as an economist, you will find the environment to be competitive and the positions limited. Why? The traits of economics, including applied economics, demand a higher level of academic training. For that reason, candidates with a master’s or doctoral degree have an edge over those with just a bachelor’s degree. Also, don’t forget the dim picture of the job prospects for economists in today’s business climate, irrespective of educational qualifications.

    On the other hand, there are many jobs that applied economics majors have to compete with those having undergraduate degrees in business. Such jobs are in fields that include marketing, agriculture, insurance, environment and finance.

    Image Credit: sxc.hu/guitargoa