Main Topic: Human Geography
Secondary Topic: Environment and Society
Overview: Economists study the production and distribution of resources, goods, and services by collecting and analyzing data, researching trends, and evaluating economic issues. They apply both qualitative and quantitative economic analysis to topics within a variety of fields, such as education, health, development, and the environment. Some economists study the cost of products, healthcare, or energy, while others examine employment levels, business cycles, exchange rates, taxes, inflation, or interest rates. Economists often study historical trends and use them to make forecasts. They research and analyze data using a variety of software programs. They sometimes present their research to various audiences.
Many economists work in federal, state, and local government. Federal government economists collect and analyze data about the U.S. economy, including employment, prices, productivity, and wages, among other types of data. They also project spending needs and inform policymakers on the economic impact of laws and regulations. Economists working for corporations help managers and decisionmakers understand how the economy will affect their business. Specifically, economists may analyze issues such as consumer demand and sales to help a company maximize its profits.
Economists also work for international organizations, research firms, and think tanks, where they study and analyze a variety of economic issues. Their analyses and forecasts are frequently published in newspapers and journals. Many PhD economists become postsecondary teachers.
Geography is important for economists in their work, and in fact there are “economic geographers.” We live in a global economy, and the balance of trade, manufacturing, and the movement of money around the world are keys to understanding both macro- and microeconomics. Economic trends and forecasts must be based on a global knowledge base, and economists must firmly grasp the impacts of different cultures, politics, environments, societies, histories, and economies to make accurate analysis and forecasts.
Geographers at work: Economic geographer, business geographer, industrial geographer, cultural geographer, human geographers
Recommended College Courses: Economic geography, business geography, urban geography, cultural geography, industrial geography, human geography, physical geography
Skills: Understanding of economics, finance, markets, politics, human behavior, and especially how economics is influenced by geography (people and places); computer and database systems; critical thinking
Occupation Group: Life, Physical, and Social Sciences
Learn more about Economists from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and U.S. Department of Labor: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/economists.htm#tab-2
Written by Christopher Anderson