Changing the World through Economics
Economists do far more than just crunch numbers. By identifying how a society uses its scarce resources (such as people, land, raw materials, and equipment), economists can understand the best methods of producing goods and services and how to distribute those goods and services amongst its population. In short, economists have the power to change the world.
Economists generally become employed by colleges and universities, businesses, banks and other financial institutions. Another large employment source is international, national and local governments, special interest groups, and national and international agencies.
Economists are employed to conduct research by collecting and analyzing data, analyzing trends and creating projections or forecasts. An economist’s research can focus on one firm or market, or on national and global issues such as inflation, unemployment, economic growth, and international trade.
Beginning positions include tasks such as computer modeling, report writing, collecting data and basic research. With further experience and advanced degrees, more opportunities involving leadership and advanced management positions may become available. Travel to remote destinations may be used for research purposes.
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- Economists often specialize in a specific area of economics:
- Microeconomists study the supply and demand decisions of individuals and firms, such as how profits can be maximized and the quantity of a good or service that consumers will demand at a certain price.
- Industrial economists or organizational economists study the market structure of specific industries in terms of the number of competitors within those industries and examine the market decisions of competitive firms and monopolies.
- Economists held about 15,000 jobs in 2006.
- Government employed 52 percent of economists with 32 percent in Federal Government and 20 percent in State and local government.
(Sources: Occupational Handbook)