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Economists conduct economic research and analysis by developing and applying theories related to the production and distribution of goods and services and people's spending habits. They may be involved with formulating and studying the effects of government economic policies, identifying opportunities to improve efficiency and competitiveness and analysing the types of goods and services produced and consumed in a country. Depending on their employer, they may also be required to analyse government labour market programs on economic and industrial growth and prepare forecasts, qualitatively and quantitatively analysing trends and advising on economic issues. Economists need to be able to think logically and analytically, be skilled at mathematics and statistical analysis and have good written communication skills.

Specialisation can lead to titles such as applied industry economist, econometrician, environmental economist, financial economist, labour market economist, resource economist, taxation economist or transport economist. Opportunity to undertake specialisation depends on course of study undertaken and positions available in the industry. Economists are required to have an economics degree, though due to the competitive nature of this industry, postgraduate study may also be required. Employment opportunities exist in government organisations, trade unions, financial institutions, private consulting firms and other commercial companies.