Resources on the Web

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Economic Data Links

The purpose of this set of links is to provide a service to all people interested in finding economic data via the internet. The internet provides vast sources of economic data and our goal is to make it easier for people to find these sources. This site would not be as thorough without the research of Bill Goffe, Dept. of Economics and International Business at the University of Southern Mississippi. His guide to Resources for Economists on the Internet is an excellent jumping-off point for those interested in additional sources of economic data or other economics-related material available on the Internet.

This site contains short summaries of the data that can be found at each site. To avoid going through all of the summaries, click on the following links to move to where you want to go.

Census Data

U.S. Government Agencies

These sites offer summary data and graphs on the following categories: output; income; employment, unemployment, and earnings; production and business activity; prices; money, credit, and securities markets; transportation; and international statistics.

  • U.S Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis—The most valuable information that can be attained without obtaining a membership is available in the news release information. The site contains the most requested recent data. There is not a lot of data to be found, but it is very specific.
  • U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics—This site contains data on the following: employment and unemployment; prices and living conditions; compensation and living conditions; and productivity and technology. This site also contains recent releases by the bureau.
  • Social Security Administration—This site provides annual and current statistics.
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) - The National Agricultural Statistics Service provides timely, accurate, and useful statistics in service to U.S. agriculture. You can retrieve national data as well as data by state and county. NASS is your preferred gateway to Census of Agriculture data for every state in the nation.
  • National Transportation Statistics—This site provides a variety of statistics on the U.S transportation system. This site also provide valuable information on energy, ranging from nuclear to coal.
  • FDIC—The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation provides statistics on banking. These statistics include historical data, quarterly banking profiles, and reports released by the FDIC.
  • Federal Reserve System Board of Governors—This site provides data that has been released by the Federal Reserve System, in the categories of weekly, monthly, and annual data. The data changes depending on the most recent releases.

Federal Reserve Banks

These sites provide valuable economic data for each of their regions.

The FRB of St. Louis is a good site for the following: U.S. financial data; monthly monetary data; monthly interest rates; monthly reserves; monthly commercial banking data; quarterly fiscal data; quarterly GDP and components; monthly CPI; monthly PPI; monthly employment and population data; monthly exchange rate data; and regional 8th district data.

International Data Links

  • World Bank—This data base links you into 170 different economies, covering health, demographic, and economic information.
  • Inter-American Development Bank—This site has summary statistical data on their member countries.
  • Penn World Table—This site make it easy to retrieve world economic data through a browser. The Penn World Table (PWT) provides purchasing power parity and national income accounts converted to international prices for 189 countries/territories for some or all of the years 1950-2009. Its expenditure entries are denominated in a common set of prices in a common currency so that real quantity comparisons can be made, both between countries and over time. It also provides information about relative prices within and between countries, as well as demographic data and capital stock estimates.
  • The International Trade Center—This site provides a comprehensive source of trade statistics that cover over 100 countries. There is a wealth of time series data that is available in the following categories: agriculture; fisheries; forestry; economics; and nutrition.
  • PACIFIC Exchange Rates—This site provides current and historical exchange rates that are updated daily from many countries.

Country Data

The following sites contain statistical economic data for the individual countries.


  • Bloomberg Personal—Offers summary information on markets around the world.
  • QuoteCom Data Service—This site offers data on the U.S. markets, four London exchanges, five European exchanges, and Canadian exchanges.
  • Quicken— This site offers a large amount of information on financial services for individuals.

Careers in Economics

An education in economics provides the student with the skills necessary to make good decisions in a wide variety of employment situations. There are three areas of employment for economists: academics, private business, and government. The majority of employment opportunities for economists require some graduate degree.

Still, an economics major or minor is helpful for a large number of careers.

The Academic Economist

Approximately one half of all professional economists are employed in academics. Academic economists are involved with teaching and doing research for colleges and universities. In addition to these responsibilities, academic economists supplement their income by writing textbooks and other educational material and by consulting. Consulting opportunities include consulting for private businesses, government, and the legal profession. For more information see

The Business Economist

Undergraduate economics majors are recruited by business firms of all sizes, from small local companies to the largest multinational corporations. An economics degree prepares students to compete with students in marketing, management, and finance, as well as with students with a liberal arts degree in history, political science, and geography. Employers who hire economics majors are interested in highly motivated students who can quickly learn a specific business. For more information see

The Government Economist

Since the New Deal era of Franklin Roosevelt, economists have moved to the forefront of government policy analysis. In recent years, economists have begun to displace political scientists and lawyers in top administrative positions in the government. Recent presidential cabinets have had more economists than any other identifiable profession. This area of employment is growing for economists because they have displayed the tools necessary for the analysis of public policy issues. In the federal government, there are positions for economists in every agency. At the state and some local levels, economists are being asked to weigh in on urban issues such as growth, zoning, and taxation. For more information see

Earnings for Economists

Many students of economics do not acquire a job that includes "Economist" in the title. Still, economics is a useful way of thinking and is thus a valuable major regardless of your official job title. In a 1995 study, the United States Census Bureau studied the average monthly earnings for workers with bachelor’s degrees in various academic disciplines. Here is a sampling of their results:


Academic Discipline Average Monthly Earnings
Engineering $3,189
Agriculture/Forestry $3,119
Economics $2,923
Mathematics/Statistics $2,716
Business/Management $2,626
Police Science/Law Enforcement $2,331
Nursing/Pharmacy/Technical Health $2,080
Physical/Earth Sciences $2,045
English/Journalism $2,032
Biology $1,990
Psychology $1,974
Social Science $1,922
Liberal Arts/Humanities $1,733
Education $1,699


According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupation Outlook Handbook 2002-2003 edition, non-academic economists’ median annual earnings were $64,830 in 2000, where the middle 50 percent earned between $47,370 and $87,890, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $114,580.

In the State of Colorado for 2001, a non-academic economist’s median annual wage is $64,1400 ($30.84 an hour), and an academic economist’s median annual wage is $61,620. In the United States for 2001, a non-academic economist’s median annual wage is $67,050 ($32.24 an hour), and an academic economist’s median annual wage is $62,820.

Employment for Economists

The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects strong employment growth for economists. Over the next ten years employment for non-academic and academic economists should grow by about 21 to 35 percent. The majority of this growth will be for those with a graduate degree.

UNC Economics Alums

Academics, private business, and government are the general areas in which economists are employed; however, the best indicator of the available employment opportunities may be found by examining the current careers of recent UNC graduates with majors in economics. The following is a list of the various careers of recent UNC graduates with a major in economics:

  • Economist for the Federal Reserve
  • Analyst for the Denver Planning Commission
  • Instructor at Front Range Community College
  • Analyst for a brokerage firm in New Jersey
  • Manager for a Sherwin Williams store
  • Assistant hospital administrator
  • Economic consultant for Sparks and Associates
  • Director of an Aspen Drug Rehab program
  • Economist for the United States Department of Labor
  • Officer in the United States Army

In addition, several recent UNC graduates from the Economics program are attending graduate school pursuing M.A.s in Economics and M.B.A.s. Still others are attending Law School.