Econ Jobs Are Up

While Ph.D.s in many fields face a tight job market, economics is thriving.

December 29, 2016
 

Jobs for economics Ph.D.s -- whether they wish to work in or outside academe -- are plentiful, according to new data from the American Economic Association.

As 2016 ends, the association has recorded 3,673 listings for positions for Ph.D.s in this calendar year. That's up 11.2 percent from a year ago. The association gathers for its annual meeting (this year in conjunction with other social science groups) this week, a key point in the interview process for many faculty searches. Similar meetings of humanities groups in coming weeks are not expected to see similarly healthy job markets.

The AEA's listings do not include every job (faculty or otherwise) for economics Ph.D.s. But association studies of their job listings are generally considered reliable measures of the state of disciplinary job markets.

One key measure of the health of a disciplinary job market is how job listings compared to the number of new Ph.D.s awarded -- and the numbers are quite favorable to economics Ph.D.s. The most recent Survey of Earned Doctorates -- covering Ph.D.s awarded in 2015 -- found that 1,256 doctorates in economics were awarded that year, roughly a third of the open positions this year.

Economics is a field where many Ph.D.s do not necessarily go into academe.

Of the AEA listings, 2,642 are in academe, a 7.5 percent increase. Nonacademic jobs are up 21.2 percent, to 1,031.

Economics jobs listed by the association fell in 2013, but have been rising ever since.

The AEA also examines trends in specializations sought by those doing hiring.

As has been the case in recent years, mathematical and quantitative methods led in popularity. It was followed by macroeconomics, microeconomics, financial economics and general economics and teaching.

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