Economists apply economic analysis to issues within a variety of fields, such as education, health, development, and the environment. They research and analyze data using a variety of software programs, including spreadsheets, statistical analysis, and database management programs. More than half of all economists work in federal, state, and local government. Federal government economists collect and analyze data about the U.S. economy. They also project spending needs and inform policy makers on the economic impact of laws and regulations. Many economists work for corporations and help them 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. Students can pursue an advanced degree in economics with a bachelor’s degree in a number of fields, but a strong background in math is essential.