US Economic Research Service

www.ers.usda.gov
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US Economic Research Service Reviews

Updated February 13, 2015
Updated February 13, 2015
6 Reviews
3.4
6 Reviews
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  1.  

    Good opportunity to get research experience

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Intern - Research Assistant in Washington, DC
    Former Intern - Research Assistant in Washington, DC

    I worked at US Economic Research Service as an intern (less than a year)

    Pros

    ERS has a very collegial research environment, with excellent opportunity to conduct independent research and publish. The hours are flexible, and there are plentiful support staff to help with administrative issues.

    Cons

    The office location is not great, though there are some food trucks and delis nearby, it does not compare to the former location in downtown. Many PhD researchers are in cubicles or window-less offices, which is hardly ideal.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  2.  

    USDA ERS a mixed review.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Data Analyst
    Former Employee - Data Analyst

    I worked at US Economic Research Service

    Pros

    Relaxed environment, easy communication, and near downtown.

    Cons

    Slow IT, takes a while for paperwork to be pushed through, and not many people work hard here.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Need a stricter work policy so people don't abuse breaks and actually do work when in the office.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
  3.  

    Highly professional staff and work environment with excellent IT support.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at US Economic Research Service full-time

    Pros

    Unique opportunity to work in one of the largest research organizations in the world with a line staff of primarily Ph.D level economists (200 +) specializing in agricultural and food economics. Good job security and retirement benefits. Very good annual and sick leave benefits. Good access to data for research and analysis. Ability to limit on site work to 2 days a week (4 ten hour days) with 2 days telecommuting.

    Cons

    Small cubicle environment for new hires (non-management) and lower level staff. Limited number of non-management positions at the grade 15 level.

    Recommends
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  5.  

    Disorganized but pleasant

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Intern - IT Intern in Washington, DC
    Former Intern - IT Intern in Washington, DC

    I worked at US Economic Research Service as an intern (less than a year)

    Pros

    People are very friendly, and I felt very welcomed as an intern. For interns they had various outings to learn more about US agriculture, as well as bond with other interns.

    Cons

    I wasn't given very much work to do, and the work I did do got lost. My supervisor was often too busy to have time to talk about my work.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
  6.  

    Great place to work

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Economist in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Economist in Washington, DC

    I have been working at US Economic Research Service full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    100% of work in research. Great knowledgeable colleges. Excellent data access. Publish without stress of tenure. Telework 2 days a week

    Cons

    Salary of low for PhD economist.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Promote young stuff, they will leave otherwise.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
  7.  

    I learned a lot about U.S. agricultural economic policy.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Agricultural Economist in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Agricultural Economist in Washington, DC

    I have been working at US Economic Research Service

    Pros

    There are a lot a resources for research support--money to support co-authors, money for conference travel, money to organize small conferences, and money to buy data. This is one of the world's largest concentration of PhDs with an interest in agricultural economics. There are opportunities to do policy-relevant research, and ERS has a reputation among agricultural policymakers and stakeholders for doing good empirical research. The work-life balance is good. It's possible (although becoming more difficult) to be promoted to the GS-15 level as a researcher without having to go into management.

    Cons

    The standards for what is good research are those of agricultural economics, which tend to be different from (some would say lower than) the standards in the rest of economics. In one sense this is good, because the bar for promotion should be lower. But some of the senior management (as opposed to branch chiefs) don't seem to be able to tell the difference between high quality research and low quality research, or at least they don't seem to reward it. There is a review process for promotion, but it's fairly opaque. Compensation is good for agricultural economics, but on the low side for economics. Some of the more experienced staff (of which there are many) are about 20 years behind the research frontier. Some of these same experienced staff have no respect for newer staff if the newer staff did not grow up on a farm, even though in many cases the newer staff have better econometric skills. In some cases the lack of respect is quite overt. Management seems to recognize this, but they don't seem to be able to do anything about it.

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