How to Become an Economic Analyst with the Central
Intelligence Agency

The Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) Directorate of Intelligence (DI) employs economic analysts who are responsible for assessing financial, trade, and economic issues related to U.S. security matters and interests. Their expertise requires them to both analyze and interpret economic trends and developments while also tracking the financial activities of foreign entities.

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These CIA professionals work closely with a number of other analysts, such as political, leadership and military analysts within the Intelligence Community to provide U.S. policymakers and similar officials with a clear picture of significant U.S. security affairs. They then use the information they obtained to write intelligence papers and briefings for U.S. policymakers.

The work of economic analysts involves focusing on any number of macroeconomic or microeconomic issues relevant to the specific region or country of which they are studying. For example, their work may focus on foreign policies or practices that are pertinent to U.S. national security. Economic analysts may also focus their efforts on transnational issues, which require taking a broader, more global approach in terms of macroeconomic stability and finance.

Economic analysts may also be responsible for providing analyses of terrorist and criminal networks, foreign corruption, money laundering, and other illegal financial activities. Those economic analysts with expertise in regional backgrounds or expertise in international trade and financial systems may focus their work on sanctions or energy issues of a specific region.

Economic Analyst Job Description – What is Economic Analysis?

Generally speaking, economic analysis is the process of examining statistics and market indicators as to develop a specific economic plan or policy or to better understand the current status of a specific economy. A comprehensive economic analysis requires understanding the relationship between sources and needs, the goals and/or forecasts for the future, and the history of the economy.

Therefore, the role of an economic analyst is to:

  • Collect, verify and examine economic data
  • InfoAttain economic forecasts based on econometric techniques and data
  • Recognize economic indicators

Any economic analysis involves gathering data, both intangible and tangible; understanding the recent history of the regional or national economy, and examining current events that can change the data. Economic analysis may be used to better understand the current state of a specific economy or to understand and meet future economic goals.

Meeting the Requirements to Become a CIA Economic Analyst

Becoming an economic analyst with the CIA involves meeting a number of specific requirements. Applicants for an economist analyst job must be United States citizens, and they must possess a bachelor’s or master’s degree in one of the following (or a closely related program):

  • Finance
  • Business administration
  • Economics
  • Economic crimes management

All candidates must show proof that their college degree was focused on international finance or international business, and they must have earned, at a minimum, a 3.0 GPA on a 4-point scale.

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Candidates who possess the following may also be considered for economic analyst jobs with the CIA:

  • A strong macroeconomic background
  • Excellent analytical skills
  • Excellent financial analysis skills
  • A foreign area expertise

Competitive candidates will possess higher GPAs, will have strong presentation and written skills, and will have relevant experience. Further, selected candidates must complete the CIA’s pre-employment process, which includes a thorough medical and psychological exam, a polygraph exam, and a comprehensive background investigation.

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