Paul Barkle has been at Infometrics since 2017, juggling both work as an economist and study. Paul works across a wide range of areas at Infometrics and was involved with updating models in our forecasts that were released last week.
This month we chat to Paul about a day in the life of an economist: how he came to be an economist and what he sees in the future.
Bio – Paul Barkle
Studies at: Victoria University of Wellington (Bachelor of Commerce with Honours (Economics)).
Resides in: Wellington
Jacqui Clarke: What awakened your interest in economics and started you on your career path?
Paul Barkle: My brother gave me the book Freakonomics for Christmas while I was in high school. I found the book super interesting and it helped me to realise how broad of a subject economics is and that it can be used as a framework to look at almost any problem.
Economics can be used to help improve health outcomes and life expectancy and decrease poverty and severe inequality. I realised economics is a tool I could use to help make the world a little bit better of a place and I thought it was something I was interested in pursuing.
Jacqui: Can you describe a typical day at work?
Paul: I think because I split my time between university and work, I don’t tend to have a typical day. How much time I’m spending and where tends to depend on how busy my schedule is and what deadlines I have approaching for each. If I am under the pump for university my hours at work tend to be a little lower and vice versa. I’m currently in my fourth year at Victoria, completing my honours in economics. But when I am at work, I’m usually updating spreadsheets with new data, writing news releases on new statistics, or working on reports for clients.
Jacqui: What are you working on now?
Paul: I’m currently working on two main things. Firstly, I’m finalising the numbers for our migration and tourism forecasts. Secondly, I’m working on an economic impact analysis for a possible new hotel, estimating how much activity it is likely to bring into the local economy.
Jacqui: What was the most interesting or challenging project you worked on?
Paul: Over the summer just passed, I ran our industry forecasting model. This model forecasts employment by 500 industries in every territorial authority in New Zealand. It was lots of work and required a lot of upskilling for me to understand code in R a little more than I previously did. Luckily, I managed to get all the forecasts done in time for the upload!
Jacqui: What is the nature of your work at Infometrics and how do clients benefit from what you do?
Paul: I do a couple of things at work which are of interest to clients. Firstly, I update some of the data available for them to download from our website. As I said above, I also run some of our employment forecast models as well as tourism and migration. Lastly, if I’m not too busy with uni I sometimes help with specific consulting projects for clients, such as the economic impact assessment I mentioned above. These reports help clients make informed decisions on proposals and understand their local economy better.
Jacqui: What do you enjoy doing when not at work?
Paul: I’m a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and spend most of my evenings during the week training for that. I also enjoy just keeping up my general fitness and spend a bit of time at the gym.
Jacqui: And finally, what is an intriguing fact about you?
Paul: When I was young, I remembered how fast a snail moves – which I can still remember to this day. If you’re interested, the answer is on average 0.000362005 miles an hour. Although don’t ask me what that is in km.
Jacqui: Thanks for taking the time to chat to us Paul.
Enjoyed this article?
You might like to subscribe to our newsletter and receive the latest news from Infometrics in your inbox. It’s free and we won’t ever spam you.