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The state of the economy and the stock market has a direct effect on the employment outlook for financial analysts. When the economy is doing well, companies are more likely to make investments, resulting in a need for financial analysts. When the economy is doing poorly, companies are less likely to make investments, and there will be less need for financial analysts. The Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH), anticipating an increase in business investments, predicts that employment for financial analysts will grow much faster than the average for all careers through 2018. The OOH notes, too, that international securities markets, the complexity of financial products, and business mergers and acquisitions demand financial analysts to sort through all the issues involved. Because of the close scrutiny analysts have been under, it might become more desirable for financial analysts to hold the CFA charter. Despite the prediction for excellent growth, competition for positions as financial analysts will be very strong since many people are interested in entering the field. Applicants with strong college grades in finance, accounting, and economics courses, a graduate degree in business or finance, and certification will have the best job prospects.
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