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There’s a lot more to being an economist than just analyzing numbers.

Many economists spend years earning advanced degrees and gathering experience. They keep current on important news, and are able to brief colleagues on the data and its likely effect on the economy, government and markets. They’ll accurately forecast major economic indicators, interest rates, oil prices and dollar fluctuations.

They study economic and financial trends, and track the up and downside risks that banks face. Such knowledge makes economists popular public speakers. Knowing how to engage an audience and deliver a presentation are essential skills.

On any given day, an economist can be a mathematician, pundit, researcher, writer and teacher. But being an economist does not mean you’re limited to working for the government, a bank or on Wall Street.

A regional economist, for example, will analyze the dynamics between regions, such as New York and Chicago, or the southwest and the northeast. They may study the fiscal and economic impacts of land-use development at local and regional levels. They’ll know if a new development can generate enough tax revenue to cover the cost of services such as public schools and public safety.

Other economists, working for a public utility district, may focus on the rates and risk management an electric utility faces, providing economic analysis on recurring and temporary issues. For example, if one of the district’s biggest customers is increasing production, the economist will determine what that means for energy sales and the local economy. Handling sales forecasts requires understanding the microeconomics of demand analysis, and analyzing risk brings together the concepts of supply and demand with probability distributions.

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