This Position Is No Longer Available
  1. Overview
  2. Duties
  3. Qualifications & Evaluations
  4. Benefits & Other Info
  5. How to Apply

Job Title:Research Economist

Department:Department Of Agriculture

Agency:Economic Research Service

Job Announcement Number:ERS-M12N-0006

This position is closed and no longer accepting online applications through USAJOBS.

The contents of the announcement can still be viewed.


$74,872.00 to $97,333.00 / Per Year


Friday, September 07, 2012 to Friday, October 19, 2012




Full Time - Permanent




1 vacancy in the following location:
Washington DC, DC United StatesView Map


Current federal employees with competitive status, reinstatement eligibles and others under special hiring authorities. (Applicants NOT in these groups should apply to Delegated Examining vacancy announcement # ERS-D12N-0005).


The Economic Research Service (ERS) conducts broad programs of economic and other social science research and analysis relating to agriculture, food, natural resources and rural America for use by public and private decision makers.  ERS' clients are the executive and legislative branches; environmental, consumer and public interest groups, including farm and industry groups; and the general public.

The Food Economics Division (FED) provides economic research, monitoring and statistical indicators, and staff and policy analysis of consumer, and food marketing issues, including consumption determinants and trends; consumer demand for food quality, safety, and nutrition; food security status of the poor; food market competition and condition; low-income assistance programs; and food safety regulations

The Food Markets Branch analyzes the efficiency of food marketing, processing, and distribution industries in meeting changing consumer demand. The Branch has responsibility for tracking and analyzing indicators of food marketing costs, marketing margins, farm-retail price spreads, retail food price change, the structure of the food marketing industries, international trade and finance, and the performance of firms in the marketing system. Research programs emphasize the organization of food industries, market behavior and performance, international food markets, and the effects of government intervention on producer and consumer welfare.


  • You must be a U.S. Citizen to apply for this position
  • Suitable for Federal employment, determined by a background investigation


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The incumbent conducts research in two broad areas: (1) the organization and behavior of the retail food sector, with implications for consumers; and (2) food prices and the CPI for food. The incumbent is responsible for initiating research ideas, reviewing relevant literature, developing testable hypotheses, selecting and cleaning the appropriate data, conducting statistical and econometric analyses, writing up the results, and disseminating the findings through ERS and academic publications. The incumbent’s research relates most directly to the mission goals of ERS by helping to inform how the economic forces shaping food retail in the United States can, in turn, impact the price, quality, and availability of food for consumers.

The incumbent is also responsible for refining and utilizing forecasting methodology to produce ERS’s monthly food CPI forecasts. This project requires the incumbent to be familiar with standard forecasting methods and to apply these appropriately to a variety of food commodities. The incumbent monitors current trends in both retail and upstream food markets to best understand the drivers of food prices, doing so in part by collaborating with ERS subject specialists in the Markets and Trade Division.


The incumbent's research serves to help further ERS's ability to meet two of its mission goals: 1) it is important for ERS to have a strong understanding of the economics of the retail market for food to `ensure a competitive agricultural system'; 2) because the retail food system and retail food prices provide insight into consumer purchase behavior and food consumption choices, this research helps to ensure that 'the nation's population is healthy and well-nourished'.


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1.  To qualify for the GS-12 you must have one year of specialized experience equivalent to at least the GS-11 grade level. Specialized experience is demonstrated by 1) ability to plan and coordinate a program of complex economic research, analysis and outlook relevant to food, agricultural, or resource markets; 2) knowledge of microeconomics and quantitative analysis and: 3) skill in communicating economic concepts and research results.




2.  Possess a PhD. or equivalent doctoral degree in combination with experience.


To be minimally qualified for this position you must meet one of the Basic Qualifications listed below.

All academic degrees and course work must be from accredited or pre-accredited institutions. If qualifying based on education, you MUST submit transcripts.

A) Degree: economics, that included at least 21 semester hours in economics and 3 semester hours in statistics, accounting, or calculus , or related disciplines appropriate to the position;


B) A combination of education and experience that provided the applicant with courses equivalent to a major in economics, as mentioned above, plus appropriate experience or additional education.

Time-in-grade restrictions apply for all candidates considered under merit promotion procedures.


Please submit your most recent SF-50 showing your current grade and step. Preferably your most recent promotion or within grade increase SF-50.

All qualification requirements must be met within 30 days of the closing date of this vacancy announcement.



Qualified candidates will be placed for selection consideration into three categories:  Best Qualified, Well Qualified or Qualified.  Your resume will be reviewed and compared against your responses to the online questionnaire.  We strongly encourage you to answer every question that accompanies this vacancy, as your responses will better highlight your specific qualifications.

Your qualifications will be evaluated on the following competencies:

  • Research
  • Quantitative Analysis
  • Communication
  • Food Markets

Please note that your resume must thoroughly support your responses to the assessment questionnaire.  High self-assessment in the applicant questions that is not supported by information in your resume may eliminate you from best-qualified status and subsequent referral to the selecting official.

Displaced/Surplus Employees :  Individuals eligible under the USDA Career Transition Assistance Program (CTAP) or the Interagency Career Transition Assistance Program (ICTAP) must be well qualified for the position to receive consideration for special priority selection.  CTAP and ICTAP eligibles within the local commuting area will be considered well qualified if the applicant meets the basic eligibility requirements and all selective factors, and is rated in the Well Qualified Category as described in the How You Will Be Evaluated section.  Employees seeking CTAP/ICTAP eligibility must submit a copy of the agency notice, a copy of their most recent performance rating and a copy of their most recent SF-50 noting current position, grade level and duty location.  Please annotate your application to reflect that you are applying as a CTAP or ICTAP eligible.  CLICK HERE for additional information on CTAP and ICTAP.


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A benefits package is authorized for this position. CLICK HERE for more information concerning federal benefits.


Selective Service System:
Males over age 18 who were born after December 31, 1959, must have registered with the Selective Service System (or have an exemption) to be eligible for Federal employment.
CLICK HERE for further information.

Optional Form 306, Declaration for Federal Employment:
If you are selected for this position, you will be required to complete this form before an offer may be made.
CLICK HERE to access the Optional Form 306.

Financial Disclosure Requirement:
The Research, Education and Economics (REE) agencies inspire public confidence in our missions by maintaining high ethical principles. Employees are subject to Federal government-wide regulations and statutes as described on the
REE Ethics Webpage. You may be required to submit a financial disclosure report if hired for this position.

False Statements:
If you make a false statement in any part of your application, you may not be hired; may be fired after beginning work; or may be fined or jailed.

Reasonable Accommodation:
Reasonable accommodation is provided to applicants with disabilities. If you need a reasonable accommodation for any part of the application and hiring process, or have questions regarding reasonable accommodation and/or accessibility for any part of the application and hiring process, please contact the Disability Program Manager on 202-720-6161 or through the DC Relay Service on (202) 855-1234 (TDD). The decision to grant reasonable accommodation is made on a case-by-case basis.


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Your application package must be complete by 11:59 p.m. (EST) on Friday, October 19, 2012.  You must apply online or by fax (see below for details).  Applications sent by mail (including e-mail) or hand-delivered will not be accepted.   Certain individuals are entitled to file a late application and must contact the Agency Contact listed below for details and application instructions.

Choose either Option A or Option B to apply for this position:

Option A:  Online Application

Click the Apply Online button to create an account or log in to your existing USAJOBS account.  From USAJOBS, you will be routed to Application Manager.  Follow the prompts to complete the occupational questionnaire and upload (or reuse) supporting documents.  You must click the Submit My Answers button at the end of the process.

If you need technical assistance with the online application process, please send an e-mail to

Note: To return to a previously saved or incomplete application, use the following link:  Track your progress to a Complete Application Package using the My Application Packages checklist and status displays in Application Manager.

To fax supporting documents that you are unable to upload:
1. Click here to print a fax cover page
2. Complete all blocks on the cover page using Vacancy ID 735492.  Documents will not be processed if information is missing.
3. Fax the completed cover page and your documents to 1-478-757-3144.

Option B:  Fax

If you cannot apply online, follow these steps to fax your complete application package.

1. Click the following link to print the occupational questionnaire View Occupational Questionnaire
2. Print the 1203FX form, which you will use to provide your responses to the occupational questionnaire, and  
3. Fax the completed 1203FX (all 6 pages), your resume, and supporting documents (including those specified in the Required Documents section below) to 1-478-757-3144.  The 1203FX will serve as the cover page for your fax transmission and must be placed on top of all other documents.


The following documents are required:
• Assessment questionnaire (completed online or submitted by fax using the 1203FX)
• Resume (OF-612 will not be accepted)

In addition, you may need to submit supplemental documentation (as outlined below).  Failure to submit supplemental information by the closing date of this announcement will result in the loss of the particular consideration you are requesting.

Merit Promotion:  If you are a current or previous Federal employee with competitive status and would like to be considered for this position, you must submit a copy of your most recent SF-50 and performance appraisal.  Additionally, if you are requesting consideration for non-competitive eligibility, but do not yet hold the full performance level of this position, you must submit an SF-50 that documents your full performance level.  Failure to do so may cause you to lose consideration for this position.

Special Hiring Authorities:  To be considered under special hiring authorities (e.g. Schedule A, VRA, 30% or More Disabled Veteran's Program, etc.), you must submit documentation that provides evidence of this eligibility.  For further information click here.

Veterans Employment Opportunities Act of 1998 (VEOA):  If you are applying to this position based on your eligibility through the Veterans Employment Opportunities Act of 1998, you must submit documentation to support your eligibility.  Generally, this will be your DD-214.

Transcripts:  If you indicate that you possess any form of post-secondary education, you must submit transcripts detailing your coursework and/or degree(s). At the time your education was obtained, the entire institution, applicable school within the institution, or the applicable curriculum must have been appropriately accredited by an accrediting organization recognized by the Secretary, U.S. Department of Education. You may lose consideration for this position if you fail to provide this information. CLICK HERE for more information on this topic.

Foreign Education:  To receive credit for education outside the U.S., you must show proof that the education has been submitted to a private organization that specializes in interpretation of foreign educational credentials and that such education has been deemed to be at least equivalent to that gained in conventional U.S. education programs. There is normally a fee associated with this service. For a list of private organizations that are accredited to evaluate education, visit National Association of Credential Evaluation Services.


Ericka Moore
Phone: (301)504-1416
TDD: 2028551234
Agency Information:
Economic Research Service
5601 Sunnyside Avenue Rm 3-1274A
Beltsville, MD


Once your complete application package (including all required documents) is received, we will conduct an evaluation of your qualifications and determine your ranking.  The best qualified candidates will be referred for further consideration and possible interview.  You will be notified of the outcome.


Applicants must be available to report for duty at the time a selection is made. Selections are typically made within 30 days of the closing date of the announcement.

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