It's a good time to have a new Ph.D. in economics and be seeking a job in academe. Or outside of academe.
A new report by the American Economic Association found that its listings for jobs for economics Ph.D.s increased by 8.5 percent in 2015, to 3,309. Academic jobs increased to 2,458, from 2,290. Nonacademic jobs increased to 846 from 761. (Not all jobs are classified in the two categories.) Economics is a field in which new doctorate recipients have long been recruited not only by colleges and universities, but by government agencies, consulting firms, banks and other organizations.
The association's annual jobs report is released in advance of the group's annual meeting, which opens Sunday in San Francisco.
Not all positions in economics are listed with the association. But the AEA study is generally considered a reliable indicator of the state of the job market, even beyond its own listings.
What may be most significant for the discipline is that the growth in open positions far exceeds the levels of 2008, when the most recent economic downturn hit. Many disciplines have been considering it a success to get back to 2008 levels.
Economics, like most disciplines, took a hit after 2008. Between then and 2010, the number of listings fell to 2,285 from 2,914. But this year's 3,309 is greater not only than the 2008 level, but of every year from 2001 on. The number of open positions also far exceeds the number of new Ph.D.s awarded in economics.
As has been the case in recent years, the top specialization in job listings is mathematical and quantitative methods.
That area was followed by (all regularly among the top five): financial economics, microeconomics, macroeconomics and international economics.