Updated February 21, 2017 | Factmonster Staff

What is this job like?

Economists do research. They prepare surveys to collect data, and then figure out what the data mean. They also forecast how the economy might change in the future. Economists study topics such as prices, jobs, taxes, interest rates, and the stock market. Other economists study money and the banking system. Writing reports on their research is a very important part of their job.

Some economists work for Federal, State, or local governments. They help governments figure out policies related to taxes, trade with other countries, the minimum wage, and many other topics.

Other economists work for businesses. Economists often help them to figure out what to sell and at what price.

Economists work with numbers, charts, and computers. Economists have regular work schedules. They often work alone doing research. However, they also may be part of a team. Most must meet deadlines.

How do you get ready?

A master's or Ph.D. degree in economics is needed for many jobs. In the Federal Government, entry-level jobs require a bachelor's degree—about 4 years of college.

Courses in math, statistics, economics, and computer science are helpful. Learning how to write is also important because economists need to write reports.

Source: The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

See also: Notable Economists.

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