National average salary: $109,115 per year

Primary duties: Economists research economic trends and issues by gathering information that reveals the production and distribution patterns of goods and services. They often create surveys and analyze the results using mathematical and statistical methods and specialized software. Then, economists compile the data in visual and written reports and use them to provide companies with information about employment trends, wages, prices and other elements of the economy to help them understand how the current economic circumstances affect their businesses. They also give government agencies economic data they can use to develop policies and legislation.