What is an 'Economist'

An economist is an expert who studies the relationship between a society's resources and its production or output. The societies studied may range from the smallest of local communities to an entire nation or even the global economy.

The expert opinions and research findings of an economist are used to help shape a wide variety of policies, including interest rates, tax laws, employment programs, international trade agreements and corporate strategies.


There is a good chance that someone interested in a career as an economist will work for the government. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, roughly 50% of all economists work for either a federal or state agency. The remainder is employed as professors, by corporations or as part of economic think tanks.

A career as an economist has two main requirements. First, economists generally hold advanced degrees, such as a Ph.D. or a master's degree. Second, economists typically develop an area of specialization where they focus their research efforts.

Ways Economists Can Influence Strategic Economic Plans

The role of an economist includes studying analyzing data that can include economic indicators such as the gross domestic product and consumer confidence surveys. Their studies can include researching distribution of goods and services, and the accessibility and reach of such to identify potential trends or make economic forecasts.

The work of economists might be commissioned to target specific segments or topics where expert assessments are needed. This could be done for budgeting and planning purposes, with the insights of the economists serving as the basis for a plan of action. For example, if there is a change in spending trends that cause a sudden fall off for a particular industry, investors and companies within in that industry might look to economists to provide perspective on what the next evolution of the market may be.

Furthermore, the input of economists can reveal the underlying causes that shape market cycles. Insights of economists can also be to form forecasts for job market growth as particular segments of the economy grow.

Economists may reference factors and elements that provide a new understanding of what drives trends. The assessments that economists provide may draw upon large segments of time in order to take advantage of large collections of data. Their theories can also provide a way for others to react to the direction the economy may take. Companies could use such perspectives to adjust their strategies, including whether or not to pursue development on particular products or if a product should be discontinued in favor of a different approach.

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