Getting a doctoral degree will open more doors for you when getting a job in the private sector. The Federal Government requires those applying to an entry-level economist position to have a bachelor's degree with at least 21 hours of economics and three hours of calculus, statistics, or accounting.
As a side note, the Federal Government employs 53 percent of all working economists. Most economists who work for the federal government work at the Department of Labor. These economists focus their efforts on collecting and analyzing data on the economy, employment, wages, prides, safety, health, and productivity. Other major employers of economists include The Departments of State, Commerce, and Agriculture.
Given that statistic, you might want to comply with their requirements to increase your options when you get out of school. If you want to work in research fields, you must have at least a master's degree. Those wanting top-paying economist positions must earn their PhD. Yeah, it means several more years of school, but think of it this way: Once you graduate, you can ask people to refer to you as "Dr. Money." How cool is that?