Economist Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

An Economist, or Research Economist, studies and analyzes the production and distribution of various goods and resources. Their main duties include gathering financial and socioeconomic data and statistics, advising organizations on effective business and financial decisions and building models for economic projections.

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Economist Duties and Responsibilities

Economists have important duties and responsibilities that affect the company, organization or government they are working for. Through years of education and experience they are able to perform certain duties on the job.

The following are the major duties and responsibilities of an Economist: 

  • Advise individuals, government and businesses on economic subjects.
  • Write papers for academic journals and other media.
  • Interpret and forecast the trends of the market by studying present and historical trends.
  • Advise on solutions to economic problems for a company, government or think tank.
  • Research economic issues such as consumer demand and sales to help the company maximize profits.
  • Analyze collected data by using software, statistics and mathematical models.
  • Create and conduct surveys and collect the data.
  • Present the results of the research through tables, charts and reports in person and in written form.

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Economist Job Description Examples

What Does An Economist Do?

Economists can work in an abundance of settings and industries, analyzing market trends and business’ performances to build accurate financial forecasts. They’ll then use these forecasts to advise the organization on the best financial strategies to follow to remain economically stable. After developing financial strategies based on their forecasting, they present these results and technical reports to an organization’s leadership team.

Economists typically conduct surveys and practice sampling techniques to better strategize financial strategies for the organizations’ specific industry. They’re also responsible for staying updated on the economic impact of various laws and regulations. Economists use this information to provide suggestions and advice to organizations to help them properly follow these guidelines.

Economist Skills and Qualifications

A good Economists should have certain skills and qualifications that lead to success at their job which translates in helping your company meet and exceed expectations. The skills and qualifications are acquired through years of university study, entry-level positions, and real job experience.

  • Economists who have critical thinking skills are able to apply logic and reasoning to solve complicated problems. This can include using data of the national economy and applying it to how it can affect the company itself.
  • Economists need to express their findings in simpler terms to others including their managers and senior executives in an organization or business. They will make presentations and explain their reports or findings to people from various business and educational backgrounds.
  • Economists also present their findings through writing. They create reports and research papers for clients or co-workers, as well as news media and/or governmental organizations. 

Economist Salary Expectations

An Economist is expected to make an average salary of $95,928 per year. The typical tenure of an Economist is about two to four years.

Economist Education and Training Requirements

To be considered a full-time Economist, there is an education requirement. A master’s degree or Ph.D. in Economics is required for most economist jobs. These degrees introduce the student to statistical software and the student has to complete detailed research in a specialty. A strong mathematics background is essential to be successful as an Economist.

Although candidates who have a Bachelor’s degree may qualify for entry-level positions, a higher-level degree is what employers look for candidates to have for higher-level positions. Internships which are directly related to work as an Economist can be done in governmental offices, non-profits, education entities, research firms and business organizations. Many Economists also become post-secondary teachers or professors who continue to research their particular fields of specialty.

Economist Experience Requirements

Economists can gain experience with internships in places with similar skills and duties are performed. This can be a non-profit, government entity or business. An internship where someone analyzes data, prepares reports and papers, and researches economic trends is ideal for a job as an Economist. The skill of using statistical software, which can be learned in a higher-level degree such as master and Ph.D. is also advantageous, as this software is essential to collecting, analyzing and presenting data.

Job Description Samples for Similar Positions

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Frequently asked questions about Economists


What are the different types of Economists?

There are several specialities and fields Economists can pursue based on their skill set and interests. Financial economists study financial markets and work with organizations to make logical economic decisions regarding their investments, risks and company savings. 

Econometricians work with more difficult financial projections and apply mathematical analyses to better understand complex economic trends using game theory, calculus and regression analysis. Microeconomists focus closely on how supply and demand affect organizations and individuals, while Macroeconomists study and research the economy and factors that directly impact it, like inflation and unemployment. 


Do Economists have different responsibilities in different industries?

Economists serve in a large variety of different industries and must have extensive knowledge of how that industry functions to better advise the company they work with. Many economists work for businesses in office settings. They’ll research and compare the cost of products, the company’s performance results and economic trends to keep the organization in strong financial standing. 

Others may work for government entities, collecting information regarding the U.S. economy to make financial forecasts and inform policymakers of spending needs and certain laws and regulations within the community. Some Economists pursue their Ph.D. and teach about economic trends while also analyzing and forecasting economic issues and publishing them in research journals and newspapers.


What makes a good Economist?

A great Economist should easily understand different statistics and analytics to make accurate economic projections. Experience and advanced knowledge in mathematics is preferred for most candidates as well, since they’re regularly building complex strategies using numbers and calculations. 

Economists should also have advanced critical thinking and problem-solving abilities to come up with logical strategies and financial solutions for organizations to follow. They should also have strong research skills and must dedicate their time to staying updated on current economic and industry trends. 


What's the difference between an Economist and a Statistician?

While both a Statistician and an Economist collect data for organizations, their duties can vary. Economists gather data and use it to improve the organizational and financial structure of an organization, while Statisticians focus more closely on enhancing the process of collecting data and improving their analytical collection methods. 

Statisticians often monitor and compare data trends and identify relationships between different data collection strategies to make the data-gathering process more efficient for an organization.

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