Being a Research Analyst
RAs learn the ins and outs of creating economic research, develop marketable skills, and build human capital.
Research analysts (RAs) play an important role in the Research Department at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland. RAs work alongside PhD economists and learn the ins and outs of creating economic research, develop marketable skills, and build human capital. RAs typically spend two to three years working at the Fed, and most pursue a graduate degree in economics upon departure.
The primary responsibility of RAs is to support the research of two or three economists within the department. Research economists at the Cleveland Fed are largely divided into four groups (microeconomics, macroeconomic policy, macroeconomic forecasting, and banking and finance), but RAs are not confined to a single group. This gives RAs flexibility to work with economists within or across groups. The economist pairings connect RAs with strong mentors and provide the opportunity to coauthor academic papers and Bank publications.
Research analysts also assist in preparing briefing materials before each meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), along with maintaining indicators and data that are published on the Cleveland Fed’s website.
Prospective candidates should have a bachelor’s degree in economics or a closely related field such as statistics, mathematics, or computer science. While interests in monetary policy and macroeconomics are preferred, they are not required. To effectively perform day-to-day tasks, working knowledge of econometric and statistical packages such as Stata, MATLAB, R, and/or Python is vital. Prior research experience in economics and a strong mathematics background are strongly preferred. Candidates must be US citizens, US nationals, or lawful permanent resident aliens (green card holders).
Meet the Current RAs
Browse the listing of analysts in the Research Department
The primary role of RAs is to work with economists on research projects. They also assist in developing presentations for briefings on economic policy. RAs use econometric and statistical packages such as Stata, MATLAB, R, and/or Python to perform statistical and econometric analyses. They collect and organize data from a variety of sources, review academic papers, and engage in discussions with economists. They may also summarize data and anecdotal information on regional economic conditions and prepare educational outreach materials.
Publications by Current or Former Research Analysts
Direct participation in economists’ research is a major benefit of being an RA. RAs often collaborate one-on-one with assigned economists to write in the Bank’s Economic Commentary series, and some RAs even coauthor working papers for publication in academic journals.
- The CPI-PCEPI Inflation Differential: Causes and Prospects—Wesley Janson
- Is the Middle Class Worse Off Than It Used to Be?—Emily Dohrman
- Revisiting Wage Growth after the Recession—Meifeng Yang
- Bitcoin's Decentralized Decision Structure—Joe Kachovec
- The Evolution of the Labor Share across Developed Countries—Meifeng Yang
- The 1970s Origins of Too Big to Fail—George Nurisso
- Residual Seasonality in GDP Growth Remains after Latest BEA Improvements—Victoria Consolvo
Working Papers/Journal Publications (2017 onward):
- Thinking Outside the Box: Do SPF Respondents Have Anchored Inflation Expectations?—Wesley Janson
- Sequential Bayesian Inference for Vector Autoregressions with Stochastic Volatility—John Zito
- Origins of Too-Big-to-Fail Policy—George Nurisso
- Forecasting GDP Growth with NIPA Aggregates—Christian Garciga
RAs may help prepare presentations that are used in briefing the Bank’s president before FOMC meetings. At the direction of the economist giving the briefing, RAs create charts and compile other materials per the briefer’s specifications.
Bank Indicators and Data
The Bank maintains a variety of indicators and data for public use, each of which has its own webpage:
- Inflation Expectations
- Median CPI
- Inflation Nowcasting
- Credit Easing
- Yield Curve and GDP Growth
- Simple Monetary Policy Rules
RAs regularly update the data and charts on the website, maintain up-to-date documentation of the indicators, and, if needed, make changes to the code used to create the indicators.
What Are the Benefits of Living in Cleveland?
Average rent is $977 for one bedroom as of January 2019 — compare with $1,774 in Chicago or $2,081 in Washington DCaccording to RentJungle
- You can live close to work!
- You can feasibly work in downtown Cleveland and live in nearby neighborhoods or surrounding suburbs
- RTA, which includes both light rail and buses, allows you to maneuver around the city and surrounding areas
- Large theater district (Playhouse Square—2nd largest to NYC)
- Lots of outdoor activities (Cleveland Botanical Garden, the Holden Arboretum, Edgewater Beach)
- 3 major professional sports teams to cheer on (NBA, MLB, NFL)
- Museums (Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Great Lakes Science Center, Cleveland Museum of Art, Museum of Contemporary Art, etc.)
- Multiple college options to best fit your academic needs
- West Side Market
- Little Italy
Cleveland is bisected by the Cuyahoga River running north/south and bordered by Lake Erie to the north. RAs most often choose one of the following six neighborhoods to live in, and all offer a variety of arts and entertainment opportunities.
When and how can one apply for the RA position?
Hiring for the RA position usually occurs in the fall, in September and October. However, we occasionally post openings for RAs at other times of the year as well. You can search for “research analyst” in the Cleveland Fed’s Search Jobs page.
What Are the Application Requirements?
- Writing sample (related to economics or finance)
What Does a Typical Day for an RA Look Like?
A typical day for an RA primarily involves working with economic data and coding in various statistical computing packages, such as Stata, R, MATLAB, and/or Python. Other activities include meeting with economists, attending seminars given by visiting scholars, and attending classes at nearby universities, such as Case Western Reserve University.
Where Have Previous RAs Gone after Working for the Fed?
Recent next jobs or graduate programs:
- Economics, finance, and statistics PhD programs: Boston College, Carnegie Mellon University, Indiana University, Rice University, University of Kentucky, University of Maryland, University of Michigan, University of Minnesota, University of Rochester, University of Washington, Washington University
- Law school and other graduate programs: NYU, University of Michigan, and Case Western Reserve University
- Other jobs in the Federal Reserve System and the private sector
What Are Some Benefits of Being an RA?
- Opportunity to work with economists at the forefront of their field
- Positive and collaborative work environment
- Flexible work hours
- Flexible work-at-home opportunities
- Tuition assistance
- Competitive salary
- Excellent health insurance, 401(k), retirement benefits, and more!
How Is It Determined Which Economists an RA Will Support?
RAs are generally matched with economists based on their mutual research interests. However, pairings are subject to the constraint that all economists must have RA support.
Are there Opportunities for Undergraduates to Work at the Cleveland Fed before Graduating?
Yes, the Cleveland Fed has a summer internship program ideal for rising seniors. Interns get the opportunity to work closely with economists and RAs in the Research Department and to learn more about the research process. Some summer interns have gone on to become RAs in the department.
Does the Cleveland Fed Sponsor International Students through the RA Program?
At this time the Cleveland Fed does not sponsor international students. Applicants must meet one of the following requirements:
- US citizen
- US national
- Lawful permanent resident (green card holder)
Is There a More Permanent Position in the Research Department RAs Can Move Into?
Yes, in addition to the RA position, the Research Department at the Cleveland Fed also has an economic analyst position ideal for candidates with at least 5 years of work-related experience. This position differs from the RA role in that economic analysts usually have more autonomy and greater responsibilities. In addition, a master’s degree is preferred for this role.
Still Have More Questions?
For additional inquiries, email Human Resources.