How to Write an Economic Profile
An economic profile combines narrative information with selective business and financial data to provide an overview of the economic landscape of an industry, business sector, city, region or nation. Companies use economic profiles to assess new investment opportunities and evaluate the desirability of an area for relocation or business expansion. In government, these reports provide valuable intelligence and inform economic policy. Writing an economic profile requires knowing your audience and what it expects to learn from the report, as well as attention to the basics of good professional writing, including concise sentences that rely on active voice and minimize the use of specialized jargon.
Draft an outline for your economic profile. An outline provides a basic structure for building the report. A typical outline of an economic profile may include an introduction, description of the data and methodology, findings and, if applicable, conclusions or recommendations. Make the outline as minimal or as detailed as you wish, depending on your preferences. The outline should help you organize the profile.
Write the goals and objectives of the report. For example, you may intend to describe the characteristics of a region's economy, assess the feasibility of locating a business in a particular city or area or look at the economic activity generated by a particular industry. Keep these key goals in mind as you build the report, giving it structure without drowning a reader in unnecessary detail.
Report key quantitative data in the profile, consistent with the overall purpose of the report. Examples of important measures to include in an economic profile include the gross domestic product (GDP) of a country, economic activity by industrial sector, unemployment rate and dollar value of business activity in a city or region, the costs and profits of a business for the past several years. Use tables and graphics, such as bar charts, pie charts and line graphs, to report these data. Visual displays make a report more reader-friendly and appear more professional.
Incorporate key political and social information, where applicable, into an economic profile. Important data include tax information, public infrastructure such as streets and bridges, characteristics of the population and area educational institutions. The economy of a region or country does not exist independent of its political and social environment, and these factors affect business operations. A heavily regulated industry faces higher operating costs, which can impact profits, making the business a less attractive investment. A nation marked by political corruption will be a less desirable area for industry to locate.
Carefully edit and proofread your report, revising sections as necessary. Make sure you can support any conclusions or recommendations with evidence from the body of the profile.
Harvard economist Gregory Mankiw, a former White House adviser, tells writers of economic reports to keep sentences short, avoid use of passive voice, prefer positive statements to negative ones and avoid jargon. He also counsels writers to keep reports simple, imagining that their readers have never taken an economics course.