Research Economist

Washington, D.C
Feb 17, 2021
Feb 24, 2021
Analyst, Research
Full Time


The Bureau of Labor Statistics measures labor market activity, working conditions, price changes, and productivity in the U.S. economy to support public and private decision making.

Learn more about this agency


BLS is currently recruiting Research Economists across multiple areas. Research economists in all fields and levels of experience are encouraged to apply. The applicant's field of concentration is less important than the desire and ability to execute frontier research, pushing boundaries to advance economic and statistical measurement and to help BLS meet its mission.

Research economists are responsible for conducting research to improve BLS outputs, conducting self-directed economic research, and serving as technical experts within BLS.

Research economists are typically employed within four areas within BLS, however, placement is dependent on current staffing needs.
  • Price and Index Number Research: The Division works on long term research, much of it towards resolving price index measurement problems, using a wide range of methods from microeconomic and macroeconomic theory, consumer economics, industrial organization, econometrics, and statistics. The Division also provides consulting services to the production offices within the Office of Prices and Living Conditions: Consumer Expenditure Surveys (CE); Consumer Price Index (CPI); Producer Price Index (PPI); Import/Export Price Indexes (MXP).
  • Compensation Research and Program Development: The Compensation Research and Program Development Group (CRPDG) carries out research that addresses methodological, conceptual, and technical issues of concern for all programs of the Office of Compensation and Working Conditions (OCWC). CRPDG provides technical assistance to OCWC program offices, initiates the development of new program activities, contributes to BLS and program office teams, and performs self-directed research in the broad field of labor economics. In addition, the group serves as reviewers and project coordinators to outside researchers in academia, non-profits, and other government agencies who are interested in accessing OCWC microdata to work on their own research projects.
  • Employment Research and Program Development: The Employment Research and Program Development staff (ERPDS) initiates, plans, and directs activities for improving the quality and enhancing the analytical usefulness of the following BLS programs: American Time Use Survey, Business Employment Dynamics, Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages, Current Employment Statistics, Current Population Survey, Employment Projections, Job Openings, and Labor Turnover Survey, Local Area Unemployment Statistics, and Occupational Employment Statistics. Two major functions of ERPDS are to assist in the development of the above data programs and to conduct original research using BLS data. In addition, the National Longitudinal Surveys Program is housed in ERPDS.
  • Productivity Research and Program Development: The Division of Productivity Research and Program Development (DPRPD) works on strengthening and improving Bureau productivity measures and on understanding the sources and effects of productivity and technical change. The Division's economists work on clarifying input and output concepts for productivity measures, using methods from microeconomic and macroeconomic theory, labor economics, industrial organization, econometrics, and statistics. Staff time is devoted partly to individual long-term research on theoretical and empirical topics and writing working papers and publications.

  • Please note that this position is in the bargaining unit.

    Travel Required

    Occasional travel - Occasional travel may be required for this position.

    Supervisory status

    Promotion Potential
    14 - There is no obligation to provide future promotions if you are selected. Promotions are dependent on your ability to perform the duties at a higher level, meet all the performance requirements, and supervisor's recommendation to the next grade.


    Conditions of Employment

    • Appointment to this position may require a background investigation.
    • Requires a probationary period if the requirement has not been met.
    • Must be at least 16 years old and a U.S. Citizen

    This position is being filled through Direct Hire Authority. Traditional rating and ranking of applications does NOT apply. Veteran's preference does not apply. However, we encourage veterans to apply for this position.

    Applicants must meet all legal and regulatory requirements. Reference the "Required Documents" section for additional requirements.


    The Economist series has an individual occupational requirement (IOR)/Basic Education Requirement. In order to qualify for the series ALL applicants must submit academic transcripts from an accredited college or university that demonstrates they meet this requirement in one of the following ways:

    A. Degree: Economics, that included at least 21 semester hours in economics and 3 semester hours in statistics, accounting or calculus;


    B. Combination of education and experience -- courses equivalent to a major in economics, as shown in A above, plus appropriate experience or additional education. Examples of qualifying experience include (a) individual economic research assignments requiring planning, information assembly, analysis and evaluation, conclusions and report preparation; (b) supervisory or project coordination assignments involving a staff of professional economists, and requiring the evaluation and interpretation of economic information; or (c) teaching assignments in a college or university that included both class instruction in economics subjects and one of the following (1) personal research that produced evidence of results, (2) direction of graduate theses in economics, or (3) service as a consultant or advisor on technical economics problems.

    Transcripts must be submitted with the application prior to the closing date of the announcement. Applications submitted without transcripts will be rated as incomplete and removed from further consideration for this vacancy.


    In addition to the qualifications listed above, applicants must have 52 weeks of specialized experience equivalent to at least the next lower grade level, GS-11, in the Federal service or a Ph.D. or equivalent doctoral degree. This one year of specialized experience must be in or related to the field of economics and must have equipped the applicant with the particular knowledge, skills, and abilities to successfully perform the duties of the position to be filled. Specialized experience is defined as evidence of highly creative research that (1) Led to the development of a basic principle, product, concept, method, approach, or technique; (2) Provided a body of basic information that opened the way for a major advance in the field of economics or statistics; or (3) Led to general advances in economics or statistic by providing a method of solving other problems, opening areas of research, or providing the means of exploiting the application of economic or mathematical theory.


    In addition to the qualifications listed above, applicants must have 52 weeks of specialized experience equivalent to at least the next lower grade level, GS-12, in the Federal service. Evidence of specialized experience includes the definition stated for the GS-12 level and also may include the submission of an article for publication to a peer-reviewed journal and the participation in teams that provided guidance to managers or policymakers on the quality and improvement of data collection.


    In addition to the qualifications listed above, applicants must have 52 weeks of specialized experience equivalent to at least the next lower grade level, GS-13, in the Federal service. Evidence of specialized experience includes the publication of an article in a peer-reviewed journal and performing duties which demonstrate skill and facility in the organization, direction, and coordination of difficult research programs of major economic significance; plus at least one of the following: technical competence in economics research resulting in important contributions to fundamental knowledge in the field, or the conduct of consultative or advisory work regarding the economic aspects of important executive or legislative programs or services.

    Your resume must include a detailed description or evidence of your specialized experience.


    Any applicant falsely claiming an academic degree from an accredited school will be subject to actions ranging from disqualification from federal employment to removal from federal service. If your education was completed at a foreign college or university, you must show comparability to education received in accredited educational institutions in the United States and comparability to applicable minimum course work requirements for this position. Click Evaluation of Foreign Education for more information.

    Academic transcripts are required documents for this vacancy. Transcripts must reflect that you meet the Individual Occupational Requirement (IOR)/Basic Education Requirement for the Economist series.

    Additional information

    THIS IS AN OPEN CONTINUOUS ANNOUNCEMENT. This type of announcement provides the Bureau of Labor Statistics with a readily available source of applicants when vacancies occur. Eligibility and qualifications will be verified when there is a vacancy for the location for which you applied. The intent of this announcement is to establish a standing register of qualified candidates. Applicants will be referred periodically throughout the announcement period or at management's request. Final application disposition will be completed once all positions have been filled or the announcement reaches the end of the open period stated in the announcement. The first cut-off date for receipt/referral of applications to be considered for available vacant positions will be December 31, 2020.

    This vacancy announcement may be extended and cut-off dates may be updated.

    Position Telework eligibility is determined by management based on position duties during the recruitment process. Employee participation in telework on a routine or situational basis is determined by management primarily based on business needs. Employees participating in telework are subject to the terms and conditions of the Department of Labor's Telework Program.

    DOL seeks to attract and retain a high performing and diverse workforce in which employees' differences are respected and valued to better meet the varying needs of the diverse customers we serve. DOL fosters a diverse and inclusive work environment that promotes collaboration, flexibility and fairness so that all individuals are able to participate and contribute to their full potential.


    How You Will Be Evaluated

    You will be evaluated for this job based on how well you meet the qualifications above.

    Please review the evaluations details here .

    Evaluation Factors (Competencies) - All qualified applicants will be evaluated on the following key competencies:
    • Decision Making/Problem Solving - Makes sound, well-informed, and objective decisions; perceives the impact and implications of decisions; commits to action, even in uncertain situations, to accomplish organizational goals; causes change. Identifies and analyzes problems; weighs relevance and accuracy of information; generates and evaluates alternative solutions; makes recommendations.
    • Oral Communication- Expresses information (for example, ideas or facts) to individuals or groups effectively, taking into account the audience and nature of the information (for example, technical, sensitive, controversial); makes clear and convincing oral presentations; listens to others, attends to nonverbal cues, and responds appropriately.
    • Writing - Recognizes or uses correct English grammar, punctuation, and spelling; communicates information (for example, facts, ideas, or messages) in a brief, clear, and organized manner; produces written information, which may include technical material, that is appropriate for the intended audience.
    • Economic Research: Methods and Theory - Knowledge of scientific principles, methods, and tools of basic and applied research used to conduct a systematic inquiry into Economics.

    Your evaluation may also include a review by a Human Resources Specialist or panel and may include other assessments (ex. interview, panel review, written test, writing sample, etc.)

    INFORMATION FOR ICTAP/CTAP ELIGIBLES ONLY: If you are eligible for special priority selection under ICTAP/CTAP, you must be well-qualified for the position to receive consideration. ICTAP/CTAP eligibles who are qualified will be considered "well-qualified".

    To preview questions please click here .

    Background checks and security clearance

    Security clearance

    Drug test required

    Position sensitivity and risk
    Moderate Risk (MR)

    Trust determination process

    Required Documents

    The following documents must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. (ET) on the vacancy closing date. You are not required to submit a document if it does not apply to you. Warning: If you submit a document using the same document title, the 2nd submission will OVERWRITE the 1st submission. Also, do not upload password protected documents.

    - Resume - All Applicants are required to provide a resume by creating one in USAJOBS or uploading one of your choosing. Cover letters are optional. To receive full consideration for relevant and specialized experience, please list month, year, and the number of work hours worked for experience listed on your resume. We suggest that you preview the online questions, as you may need to customize your resume to ensure that it supports your responses to the vacancy questionnaire.

    - Veterans Documents (if applicable): To be considered as a 5-point preference eligible, you must submit a copy of your Certificate of Release or Discharge From Active Duty, DD214. Your DD-214 must show the type of discharge and dates of active duty. To claim 10-point preference, you must submit a copy of your DD214; an Application for 10-point Veteran's Preference, SF15; and the proof of entitlement of this preference which is normally an official statement, dated 1991 or later, from the Department of Veterans Affairs certifying to the present existence of the service-connected disability and indicating the percentage of your disability. (For active duty service members expecting honorable or general discharge or release within 120 days, click Active Duty ). Without this documentation, you will not receive veteran's preference. For more information, go to:

    - Displaced Employee Placement Documents - Only required if requesting priority consideration under CTAP or ICTAP eligibility.

    - Unofficial Transcript(s) (in English) - submit if using education as a basis for qualifying for this position. If so, you must submit all applicable academic transcripts demonstrating that you meet the qualifying educational requirements (ex. BA/BS, MA, JD, PHD, etc). If specific course work is required to qualify, you must supply transcripts from each academic institution in which the required courses were taken in order to receive credit.

    You may upload your transcript(s) as one document (3 MB size limit). If over 3 MB, please submit via fax feature.

    OFFICIAL Transcripts MUST BE RECEIVED prior to selection and report date. Reference the "Education Section" for College Transcript and Evaluation of Foreign Education.

    If you are relying on your education to meet qualification requirements:

    Education must be accredited by an accrediting institution recognized by the U.S. Department of Education in order for it to be credited towards qualifications. Therefore, provide only the attendance and/or degrees from schools accredited by accrediting institutions recognized by the U.S. Department of Education .

    Failure to provide all of the required information as stated in this vacancy announcement may result in an ineligible rating or may affect the overall rating.

    Similar jobs