Review past and current market trends to predict where the economy will go.

What does an Economist do?

An economist can actually have several jobs, all of which have the same responsibility. As an economist, you analyze past performance and present indicators and then make predictions about what the market (economy) will do in the future.

Economists evaluate how people spend money. This is done through existing research as well as surveys done directly on consumers. With this information, you evaluate the ways people have spent money in the past and how they plan to spend it in the future. This data allows you to advise businesses in their planning practices. For example, if your research uncovers a significant drop in car sales, with a high number of consumers reporting low intentions to buy, you advise your car manufacturer client to scale back production.

In addition to businesses, you also offer trend-based advice to government organizations. Every time a law works its way through the House and Senate, the question on everyone’s mind is, “How will this affect the economy?” Your job is to respond with an educated prediction. For example, a change in taxes—whether they’re raised, lowered, added, or subtracted—jolts the economy in a different direction. You identify whether it is the direction government hopes it will go.

Within the field of economics, you might specialize in one area such as macroeconomics (what history says about the future), microeconomics (individual businesses), or international economics (how other economies affect ours). Within any of these positions, you need a passion for numbers and an obsession for details.