Senior Economist

  • San Diego Association of Governments - SANDAG
  • San Diego, CA, USA
Full Time Economics

Job Description

Economic and Demographic Analysis and Modeling Program

The Data, Analytics, and Modeling Department provides SANDAG member agencies, elected officials, other organizations, and the public with information and technical resources for regional planning, funding, and policymaking efforts. The department represents a broad range of expertise from land use and transportation modeling, programming and website development, applied social research, public safety, demographics, and economics. The common theme is data. The information the department gathers, analyzes, produces, delivers, and maintains is essential to the success of SANDAG.

The Economic and Demographic Analysis and Modeling (EDAM) team develops socioeconomic forecasts of population, housing, employment, income, and land use for the San Diego Region.  This includes analyses at the regional level as well as jurisdictions, community planning areas, ZIP Codes, and to the parcel level. The group also conducts analyses to support research, economic, and planning studies as well as policy development initiatives. In the near future, SANDAG will play a central role in facilitating the collection, storage and access to big data for the region, and the EDAM group will be relied on to analyze and work with this data.

Senior Economist Role

The Senior Economist will lead the development of complex short- and long-range regional economic studies and programs and serve as project manager for economic research and fiscal impact studies for public and private organizations through the SANDAG Service Bureau. This position coordinates region-wide fiscal and economic strategies designed to proactively leverage new opportunities and drive the agency toward reaching its strategic goals.

Job Responsibilities

This position is ideal for an economics professional with a strong interest in furthering their expertise in regional economic and fiscal issues. We anticipate career development will occur while completing the types of duties and responsibilities described below and through mentoring and close collaboration with senior staff. Examples of primary responsibilities include:

  • Design and implement economic research methodologies and fiscal analyses in support of regional policies, plans, and programs including San Diego Forward: The Regional Plan, and TransNet; analyze, interpret, and report on the results of economic research projects of broad scope and complexity.
  • Perform econometric analyses such as describing the relationships between economic activity, job growth, and demographic characteristics towards land/use development and changes in the transportation network.
  • Mathematically describe the relationships between changes in national and state economic activity and their impact on the region and within the various industry and geographic sectors within the region.
  • Evaluate the economic impact and perform risk assessments of alternative actions; analyze various demographic and socioeconomic factors and public policies to recommend specific actions to improve the region’s economy.
  • Design and conduct quantitative research and non-routine data analysis to evaluate and monitor current economic conditions, forecast future trends, and analyze the impact of proposed projects/programs/ policies on the region’s economy.
  • Prepare written technical, analytical, and policy reports and present findings and recommendations to technical and policy committees, the SANDAG Board of Directors, other elected and appointed officials, and SANDAG clients.
  • Develop successful long-term networks and business relationships with private and public sector organizations; engage in business development activities that lead to greater awareness of the agency’s economic programs, services, and resources throughout the region.
  • Coordinate and/or participate on inter-departmental and inter-agency teams assembled for modeling, analyses, and planning related projects; foster collaborative working relationships with local jurisdictions, Caltrans, and other public agencies.
  • Apply for and respond to grants, develop Requests for Proposals (RFP's), evaluate competitive project proposals and make recommendations for consultant selection; manage project consultants and ensure projects are completed on schedule, within the prescribed budget, and with a high-level of effectiveness.

Experience and Qualifications

Numerous factors contribute to an individual’s ability to be successful in any given role. For this position, we are searching for a candidate with an aptitude for analytical thinking and problem solving who is organized, flexible, and can be relied upon to meet deadlines while working on multiple projects. Excellent communication skills, the ability to work collaboratively with a variety of end-users to build consensus, and the use of sound judgment are important.

The minimum education, training, and experience qualifications include a bachelor’s degree with major course work in regional economics, land use/real estate economics, public finance, demography, statistics, or a related field, and five years of recent experience in applied economics or a related research field. A Master’s degree is desirable.

The following information describes the specific types of career experiences that are most relevant to this position.

  • Demonstrated knowledge of the principles of economic theory and their application to transportation, regional planning, land/use, real estate, employment, public facilities, government finance, and related fields.
  • Demonstrated knowledge of the principles of economic research methods, including input-output models and econometric methods; experience conducting/managing primary and secondary economic research studies, and using big data in econometric analysis.
  • Demonstrated ability to analyze and evaluate complex economic and financial issues, develop and evaluate solutions and provide sound advice and actionable recommendations on a strategic, policy, and organizational management issues.
  • Experience using multidimensionality economic analysis to estimate the effects of proposed projects or programs and to facilitate informed decision-making.
  • Demonstrated knowledge of data sources used in economic studies; experience developing, validating, and documenting economic databases.
  • Demonstrated proficiency using various database query and statistical software for accessing and analyzing large datasets, including unstructured data.
  • Ability to prepare reports that document research procedures; experience effectively presenting, analyzing, and interpreting research findings in a compelling and easily understandable way and making conclusions and recommendations for consideration by elected officials and other decision makers.
  • Experience preparing and delivering public presentations to Boards, community groups, and others; ability to effectively communicate technical information to non-technical audiences.
  • Successful project management experience, including development of RFPs, scopes of work, budgets, and schedules, consultant selection, and contract management for plans and analyses.
  • Demonstrated ability to foster strategic business partnerships and alliances with regional economic development agencies.
  • Ability to exercise discretion and political acumen in dealing with complex, sensitive, and confidential issues regarding conflicting agendas and positions.
  • Familiarity with Geographic Information Systems (GIS) analysis and mapping as well as transportation modeling and analysis is desirable.
  • The selected candidate can anticipate a driving record check upon hire, and approximately annually thereafter. The results of the check may determine whether the selected candidate will be permitted to drive for SANDAG business.

Salary and Benefits

SANDAG rewards the efforts of its employees with a comprehensive compensation package. Competitive salaries are supplemented with a flexible offering of health, financial security, and time-off benefits to meet the work and life needs of employees and their families.

This Senior Economist position has an annual salary range of $71,689 to $114,703; the starting salary will depend on the qualifications and experience of the selected candidate.

Our benefits include traditional health, dental, and vision insurance as well as employee assistance, wellness, and work/life balance programs. Retirement and financial security benefits are provided through a pension plan and deferred compensation program. To support the need to rest and rejuvenate, employees are provided with a bank of paid time off in addition to paid holidays.

How to Apply

We encourage all interested candidates to apply for this position by completing a SANDAG Employment Application form. Resumes, cover letters, and work samples may be submitted in addition to the Employment Application but are not a substitute for this document.

The Employment Application can be downloaded in PDF format from the SANDAG website. Alternatively, a copy can be requested by calling (619) 699-1900 or emailing Completed applications and related materials can be submitted via e-mail, fax, regular mail, courier, or delivered by hand. See our Careers / How to Apply Web page for additional information.

This position is Open until Filled. The first review of applications will begin on Friday, March 15, 2019.

In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), SANDAG will accommodate persons who require assistance in order to apply for a position at SANDAG. Applicants requiring an accommodation due to a disability during any stage of the recruitment and selection process, including requesting this document and related application materials in an alternative format, should make their needs known by contacting Human Resources at (619) 699-1900, (619) 699-1904 (TTY), fax (619) 699-6905, or

Additional Application Requirement

To help us further evaluate the skills and experience of individuals interested in this position, applicants are asked to respond to the Supplemental Questions below. The information can be up to 500 words per question and should be submitted with the Employment Application. This is considered a required component of the application; applications received without a response will be screened out of the selection process.

Supplemental Questions

  1. Describe your experience developing an econometric analysis or economic model, including descriptions of the data, tools, approach, types of analyses, findings, and how he results were implemented.
  2. Describe your experience developing a benefit-cost and/or economic impact analysis in support of a project. How did your analysis influence acceptance/approval of the project?

Candidate Selection and Notification

Following the first review date for applications, candidates will receive written confirmation that their application has been received. The hiring manager will begin reviewing and evaluating applications within a few days of the first review date. Based on this evaluation, the best qualified candidates will be invited to continue in the selection process. All candidates will receive written notification as to the final outcome of their application.

Further Information

The SANDAG website contains a wealth of information about our various project and program areas. The Careers section of the site lists all of our current Job Openings as well as information on how to apply for positions and Frequently Asked Questions about our recruitment process.

In compliance with the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, applicants hired by SANDAG must show acceptable proof of identity and evidence of authorization to work in the United States.

SANDAG is an Equal Opportunity Employer

Education Requirements

Bachelor's Degree


$71,689 to $114,703 per year