US Bureau of Economic Analysis Reviews | Glassdoor

US Bureau of Economic Analysis Reviews

Updated September 6, 2017
40 reviews

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Brian Callahan
14 Ratings

40 Employee Reviews

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  1. "Economist"

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

    I worked at US Bureau of Economic Analysis full-time

    Pros

    Environment, Satisfying Work, Great Staff

    Cons

    Slightly Difficult Commute, Not many lunch options


  2. Helpful (1)

    "Set your expectations accordingly"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Economist in Suitland, MD
    Current Employee - Economist in Suitland, MD
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at US Bureau of Economic Analysis full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    BEA produces some of the most important important economic statistics available. If this interest you then you're at home here.

    Work life balance is top notch, people are friendly, the building and cubicles are surprisingly nice, the pay (especially for recent grads or young employees) is good, benefits even better, facilities are nice, work stations are well equipped, cafeteria is fine, managers are mostly transparent and non-elitist, telework option up to 2-3 days a week, flexible schedule. The work itself varies by directorate, but generally you're busy on a seasonal basis, with down time in between.

    As a recent graduate who was hired on via Pathways Program, this is a good spot to get some experience, and then leave. Our reputation is solid in and out of the government (all you have to say is GDP, really), and you're given responsibilities that people several decades your senior also have. You're treated like an equal employee amongst all, and that's something that I think is pretty special.

    Cons

    The core of government stereotypes are found here (although we're not as bad as Census). Slow career growth, pay caps off quickly, HR has too much power and moves too slowly, strict hierarchy and overly defined roles creates a diffusion of power in which getting anything changed is a month long process, office is often empty or silent (they have a white noise generator in the ducts), Suitland is a terrible, terrible place, not much emphasis placed on company culture outside of specific job duties, and job roles can differ drastically with little opportunity to expand your skill sets beyond what's required in your job role (however, you will receive ample training to perform your job at the level required).

    Advice to Management

    I think management is great. Even the director says hi in the elevators. If there's any advice to be given its to those being onboarded - do your research, know what the Bureau is and does, and set your expectations accordingly.

  3. "Economist II"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Economist in Suitland, MD
    Current Employee - Economist in Suitland, MD
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at US Bureau of Economic Analysis full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    If you're into data management, following economic trends, etc, you'll have plenty of work to keep you happy. There is full respect for work-life balance, friendly work atmosphere, on-site gym, pickup-sports with Census at lunch, and good people.

    Cons

    Located out-of-town, slow HR process, and general government-speed changes.

    Advice to Management

    Keep investing in new methodologies


  4. "Great place to work, if you don't mind the location"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    Pros

    Great place to work, smart people, collegiate environment, ton of opportunity to move up and around the agency. Also, pay system is different than GS. There is always an opportunity to be awarded a cash bonus and raise every fiscal year in addition to the COLA increases in January, as long as you are putting the right amount of work in.

    Cons

    Location, location, location. If you can get over commuting to Suitland (formerly located downtown D.C.), then it is worth the commute.

    Advice to Management

    None. Management has been excellent in my experience, and there has been little to no micro managing here. Plenty of opportunity to work independently. If you are capable of this and have a knack for data analysis, you'll be fine.


  5. "Economist"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Economist
    Current Employee - Economist
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at US Bureau of Economic Analysis part-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    it has the Best work schedule

    Cons

    the Pay scale is very low


  6. "BEA employee"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Economist in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Economist in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at US Bureau of Economic Analysis full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    work with very smart analysts, culture of constantly improving methodology

    Cons

    work life balance is very difficult during the summer and annual revisions

    Advice to Management

    keep investing in IT infrastructure to make estimate processing more seamless


  7. Helpful (2)

    "Easy but boring"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Economist in Suitland, MD
    Current Employee - Economist in Suitland, MD
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at US Bureau of Economic Analysis full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    - My manager is really great. She doesn't micromanage, which is effective for someone who is a self-motivator like myself, but less effective for less enthusiastic employees.
    - The benefits are cool. I get metro subsidized. Health insurance is good. They supply you with a laptop, second monitor, etc. Though most of this extra gear takes forever.
    - The work is realllllly easy (at least for me); you'll probably have a lot of free time if there's an online class you've been eyeing or youre paying your way through law school.
    - Related to above, the attitude in the office, at least in my division is super lax.
    - The pay is decent, especially relative to the work.
    - You can telework up to three days a week
    - They have gliding schedules of up to two hours. So if you set a standard arrival time at 8 you can come in anywhere from 6-10 and leave accordingly.
    - They're in the process of upgrading the cubes to be less depressing, and even include standing desks!
    - The campus has cool programs. Census has soccer and volleyball sign up at lunch. BEA has a softball team.
    - There's a gym but it's NOT free

    Cons

    - The office has moved to Suitland, which is a bummer because it used to be in DC proper, though the reverse commute isn't bad if you live on the Green Line.
    - The work is super boring, which is amplified by the fact that you're working in a cube farm, in Suitland.
    - It's appropriately bureaucratic, though that comes with the territory.
    - The cafeteria is meh. I would much rather be able to walk around DC at lunch.
    - I won't say that there isn't upward mobility, but I will say that the upward mobility seems bleak. If I were to be promoted to my manager's job, for instance, I think the work would be equally as boring as my job now.

    Advice to Management

    The issues are systemic. My manager is amazing.

  8. Helpful (6)

    "Start looking for a new job immediately if you're unlucky enough to land here"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Economist in Suitland, MD
    Former Employee - Economist in Suitland, MD
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at US Bureau of Economic Analysis full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    1) Health Insurance
    2) Gain some skills despite all the other extreme negatives
    3) Telework (this has been given up to three days a week in order to try to keep MORE staff from leaving due to the long commute to Suitland and the lack of opportunity for most)

    Cons

    When you talk to a BEA recruiter, he/she talks up the so-called "pay for performance" system. Don't believe this line. The way it really works in practice is that a select few favorites get better annual raises than what they would under the far more transparent GS system while the majority of staff gets in the 1% range. Management decides which category you'll be in within a couple of months of you landing, well before you're finished any training you may be lucky enough to receive (though it's just as likely you'll get no training then blamed for not being perfect). Once management labels which category you belong in, there is no way to change their opinion of you no matter how good you are at your job.

    If you look at the GS scales, the 1% annual increase is far less than what anybody above a GS-7 earns for a horizontal in-grade annual increase. Consequently, there are college and grad-school educated Economists who've been working at BEA for 15+ years who don't earn the equivalent of a GS-12. Meanwhile, it takes 3-4 years to get to a GS-12 from a GS-9 in the Census Bureau, the agency that rents space to BEA in their building.

    At BEA, the brass ring for non-supervisory staff is the Band IV. Band IV's are usually given to people who were chosen to be the favorites at the beginning and have been given the unusually large annual raises so they've topped out the Band III schedule. That means that the favorites are further lavished with more rewards while the majority of people who aren't favorites fall further and further behind. Chances are that'll be you if you accept an offer from BEA.

    During my time of nearly a decade, the upper management was almost constantly opening up new sections in order to promote the lucky favorites from Band IV to management. It's a snowball effect. But wait! There's more!

    When BEA gets its budget from Congress/Commerce Department, it's for a staff whose job description tops off at GS-12. Yet, many front-line staff don't make that much as I mentioned above. Where does that money go? I would suppose that it goes into the pockets of the bonuses for upper management. I don't have proof though. I never asked my upper management because I knew I wouldn't get an answer to that question anyway. I never resented my immediate supervisor's pay because he/she has no control of the system. The upper managers control the annual raises very meticulously.

    In addition to the large chance of not making as much as one would at a competing agency for the same skill set, the winner-take-all atmosphere causes a lot of drama and office politics. You still have to deal with the office politics even if you know that upper management has deemed you a loser and therefore have nothing to gain by playing. I've seen managers go out of their way to try to frame staff for errors they didn't commit in order to try to gain favor with senior management. Now, in this case, upper management didn't bite but the larger point is that the incentives at BEA are so screwed up because of the winner-take-all atmosphere that someone would even take time and energy to think like this.

    Also, the location is remote and a long commute for everyone who doesn't live in southern Prince George's or Alexandria. There is nothing in walking distance of the 4600 Silver Hill Road. At least the facility itself is nice and modern.

    Advice to Management

    Acknowledge that you have a severe staff retention problem. Understand that you are now competing with the U.S. Census Bureau directly for talent since you share the same building with them and they pay better for most rank-and-file staff.

    The way you're operating your so-called "pay-for-performance" system with all the favoritism and drama is killing your agency's long-term health. While it may bring you great bonuses in the short-term, it is destroying a once-great agency with an extremely noble mission.

    Your staff has more marketable skills and job opportunities than you realize. Excel and SAS/STATA proficiency are valuable at many public and private sector workplaces.

    Finally, your staff understands the realities I've articulated in this review even if it can't quite articulate them.


  9. "Economist"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Economist
    Former Employee - Economist
    Doesn't Recommend

    I worked at US Bureau of Economic Analysis full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    You may have the chance to work some talented individuals. You can learn about how this important national statistic is compiled and dis-aggregated into other relevant. If you plan to build a career in fields related to macroeconomics, this is a great place to gain some experience.

    Cons

    Poor management styles displayed by managers who only worked at BEA their whole lives. Career growth is slow. The managers do not want their employees to grow but rather feel threatened if you are a worker with high caliber and great ideas. Very little thinking goes into improving this vital national statistic. If you bring up valid concerns and the managers fail to understand it, let alone address them, you will be labeled as unruly. If you are a driven individual, you will not like the work culture. The management is concerned about system/estimation process that they are familiar with rather than improving it further.

    Advice to Management

    Listen to your subordinates. And be more proactive about improving this vital estimate rather than promoting poorly developed methodologies to the rest of the world, without sound academic support.


  10. "Review for economist position"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at US Bureau of Economic Analysis (More than a year)

    Pros

    Low pressure. Good work life balance. No weekend work, and you can't get fired unless you do something very very stupid.

    Cons

    Can be very boring and career progression is minimal. Sometimes it's hard to see the impact of your work, if any.

    Advice to Management

    Find a way to keep the job interesting and exciting and promote younger employees from within. Don't let people stagnate and be a drag.


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