What Does an Economist Do?

EconomistPerhaps you’ve been considering career options and think you might want to become an economist; however, you may be unsure exactly what an economist does. Sometimes job research can become overwhelming. Let’s take an in-depth look at what an economist is, what areas they specialize in and the work environment of an economist.

What is an Economist?

Economists study the distribution of resources in a society. Such resources include raw materials, land, machines that manufacture goods and labor. They also monitor economic trends, analyze collected data and conduct research. Economists then take the data and knowledge from the research, analysis and monitoring to develop forecasts regarding such issues as interest rates, inflation, energy costs, exchange rates, employment levels, taxes, business cycles and more, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Economists must often develop the methods for collecting the information that is needed to make their forecasts. The development of tables, charts and reports to present and share the data is also part of an economist’s job. These presentations have to be created in a way that those without an economic background can understand. So, as you can, see there are a number of aspects involved in the job of an economist. In fact, this is just an overview of some of an economist’s tasks.

Types of Economists

There are various types of economists who specialize in different areas. There are microeconomists whose focus in on such issues as supply and demand as they apply to individuals and private firms. These economists are concerned with issues like maximizing profits and the price points of goods and services based on demand. Market analysis and consultations to corporations are also part of the job of a microeconomist.

Some economists may work specifically for research or consulting firms. Their primary duties involve collecting economic data and providing advice on how best to use that data. Often, these economists may work for federal government for such agencies as the U.S. Department of Commerce or the U.S. Department of Labor. They work to evaluate the current economic conditions in the country and to advise on public policy regarding current market conditions.

These are merely a few examples of the types of economists there are. Sub-specialties and areas of employment can get very specific.

Work Environment

Economists usually have very regular work schedules. This is good if you enjoy routine in your day to day life. In addition, you can expect to do a great deal of solitary work in this position, such as using computers for research, preparing reports and creating charts or graphs. Not all the work is done alone, though. Contribution to research teams is also an important part of the job. The job of an economist is very deadline-driven, so it’s helpful if you’re able to work well under pressure. Also, when these deadlines come into play, you can expect to work overtime. You must also be flexible, as your work may be interrupted by impromptu meetings or requests for data.

Related Resource: Survey Researcher

Hopefully, with this information in hand, you have a better idea of whether becoming an economist is a good career path for you. Understanding what an economist does will help you to make the decision that’s best for your personality and aptitudes.