NEW YORK -- The big spike in gasoline prices is just about over, but it's too late to bring much relief for Labor Day weekend.

The national average price for gasoline inched up just 0.3 cents Friday to $3.83 per gallon, ending a string of dramatic increases caused by Hurricane Isaac.

"We're in the ninth inning of this," said Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst at the Oil Price Information Service.

Still, drivers will pay the highest pump prices ever for this time of year.

The sky-high prices are keeping people like David Keup of Cedarburg, Wis., home. He was planning to visit a few friends near Coleman, Wis. this weekend, but now he's going to abandon the 285-mile round trip.

"It's not worth the added expense," he said.

Isaac, now slowly disintegrating over the middle of the country, forced several Gulf Coast refineries to shut down or operate at lower rates. This is deprived markets of millions of gallons of gasoline and sent prices sharply higher.

The storm pushed the national average gasoline price up 10 cents per gallon in one week, including a 5 cent gain Wednesday that was the biggest one-day gain since February of 2011.

But the price surge appears to be over. Kloza expects average gasoline prices to creep higher during the weekend then start falling after Labor Day, the last big driving weekend of the summer.

Pump prices were on the rise even before Isaac arrived. The average gasoline price rose about 40 cents from July 1 to mid-August because of refinery problems in the Midwest and West Coast, and sharply higher crude oil prices.

Crude has traded between $94 and $97 per barrel for two weeks, after rising from a low near $77 in late June.

On Friday U.S benchmark crude rose $1.85 to end at $96.47 per barrel after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke made clear in a speech that the central bank will do more to revive the U.S. economy.

Brent Crude, which is used to price oil used by many U.S. refiners, rose $1.92 to $114.57 per barrel.

In a speech at an annual Fed conference in Jackson Hole, Wyo., Bernanke said the economic recovery is "far from satisfactory" but he did not give any timetable for action that might reduce borrowing costs and help stimulate growth.

If the Fed reduces the cost of borrowing, it could boost demand for the energy needed to fuel growth and make oil and other commodities more attractive investments.

"With interest rates near zero, people look for somewhere to put their money. One of those places is the oil market," said energy analyst and consultant Jim Ritterbusch.

Ritterbusch expects them to stay roughly in the $95-per barrel range well into September. World oil demand is rising only slightly, and supplies are adequate. But continued worries over tensions between Iran and the West will keep prices from dropping. Expectations of financial stimulus programs from U.S. and European central banks will also keep the market propped up.

Hurricane Isaac did not have a major effect on crude prices this week, even though almost all of the oil production in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico was halted ahead of the storm. Production is expected to return to normal over the next several days.

Gasoline prices can fall even if oil prices stay relatively high because gasoline demand slows after the summer driving season and refiners can switch to cheaper winter blends of gasoline.

In other Nymex energy futures trading, heating oil rose 5 cents to $3.18 a gallon, while wholesale gasoline climbed 6 cents to $2.97 a gallon. Natural gas rose 5 cents $2.80 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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    <strong>Percent increase:</strong> 33.1 percent <strong>Total new jobs (2010-2020):</strong> 11,300 <strong>Median income:</strong> $94,990 <strong>States with the most jobs per capita:</strong> Hawaii, North Dakota, Montana Optometrists specialize in the care of eyes and vision. Their responsibilities include diagnosing eye injuries and diseases, as well as prescribing glasses and contact lenses. In order to practice, they are required to have a Doctor of Optometry degree, presently awarded by just 20 accredited programs, and must be licensed by the National Boards in Optometry. Those who meet these qualifications are often extremely well-compensated: the top 10% of optometrists earned in excess of $166,400. With vision problems becoming more frequent as people grow older, the number of optometrists is expected to rise by 33.1% between 2010 and 2020. <a href="http://247wallst.com/2012/08/30/the-best-paying-jobs-of-the-future-2/#ixzz258VQKtNN" target="_hplink">Read more at 24/7 Wall St. </a>

  • 9. Occupational Therapists

    <strong>Percent increase:</strong> 33.5 percent <strong>Total new jobs (2010-2020):</strong> 36,400 <strong>Median income:</strong> $72,320 <strong>States with the most jobs per capita:</strong> Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire "Occupational therapists treat patients with injuries, illnesses, or disabilities through the therapeutic use of everyday activities. They help patients develop, recover, and improve the skills needed for daily living and working," according to the BLS. Becoming an occupational therapist requires a master's degree, which generally takes two years to complete. The number of occupational therapists is expected to reach 145,200 by 2020, as an aging baby-boomer generation looks to maintain its independence and stay active. <a href="http://247wallst.com/2012/08/30/the-best-paying-jobs-of-the-future-2/#ixzz258VQKtNN" target="_hplink">Read more at 24/7 Wall St. </a>

  • 8. Veterinarians

    <strong>Percent increase:</strong> 35.9 percent <strong>Total new jobs (2010-2020):</strong> 22,000 <strong>Median income:</strong> $82,040 <strong>States with the most jobs per capita:</strong> Montana, Colorado, Iowa "Occupational therapists treat patients with injuries, illnesses, or disabilities through the therapeutic use of everyday activities. They help patients develop, recover, and improve the skills needed for daily living and working," according to the BLS. Becoming an occupational therapist requires a master's degree, which generally takes two years to complete. The number of occupational therapists is expected to reach 145,200 by 2020, as an aging baby-boomer generation looks to maintain its independence and stay active. <a href="http://247wallst.com/2012/08/30/the-best-paying-jobs-of-the-future-2/#ixzz258VQKtNN" target="_hplink">Read more at 24/7 Wall St. </a>

  • 7. Medical Scientists, Except Epidemiologists

    <strong>Percent increase:</strong> 36.4 percent <strong>Total new jobs (2010-2020):</strong> 36,400 <strong>Median income:</strong> $76,700 <strong>States with the most jobs per capita:</strong> Massachusetts, California, Washington Though the roles of medical scientists vary from job to job, all study biological systems to understand their effects on human health. Medical scientists often work for the federal government, at research universities or in the private sector. By 2020, the number of medical scientists is projected to increase to more than 136,000, as the population of the United States grows and ages and the demand for prescription drugs rises. Educational requirements are quite high, with most positions asking for either a doctorate or a medical degree. The annual pay of the top 10% of medical scientists was $142,800. <a href="http://247wallst.com/2012/08/30/the-best-paying-jobs-of-the-future-2/#ixzz258VQKtNN" target="_hplink">Read more at 24/7 Wall St. </a>

  • 6. Audiologists

    <strong>Percent increase:</strong> 36.8 percent <strong>Total new jobs (2010-2020):</strong> 4,800 <strong>Median income:</strong> $66,660 <strong>States with the most jobs per capita:</strong> New Mexico, Colorado, West Virginia Audiologists treat patients who have problems with their hearing, balance or ears. A doctoral degree is necessary, as is a state license, though exact requirements differ by state. Explaining projected job growth, the BLS notes that "hearing loss increases as people age, so an aging population is likely to increase demand for audiologists." There are not very many audiologists, and a projected 36.8 percent increase in jobs would bring the total number of audiologists to 17,800 by the end of the decade. Annual salaries exceeded $102,210 for the top 10 percent of audiologists. <a href="http://247wallst.com/2012/08/30/the-best-paying-jobs-of-the-future-2/#ixzz258VQKtNN" target="_hplink">Read more at 24/7 Wall St. </a>

  • 5. Dental Hygienists

    <strong>Percent increase:</strong> 37.7 percent <strong>Total new jobs (2010-2020):</strong> 68,500 <strong>Median income:</strong> $68,250 <strong>States with the most jobs per capita:</strong> Michigan, Utah, Idaho From 2010 to 2020, the number of dental hygienists is projected to rise by 37.7 percent to more than 250,000. Factors driving increased demand for this occupation include ongoing research linking oral health to general health, as well as an aging population keeping more of its teeth. Dental hygienists typically do not need a professional degree or previous work experience, though they often need an associate's degree and a license. Typical job responsibilities include cleaning teeth and taking dental X-rays. <a href="http://247wallst.com/2012/08/30/the-best-paying-jobs-of-the-future-2/#ixzz258VQKtNN" target="_hplink">Read more at 24/7 Wall St. </a>

  • 4. Physical Therapists

    <strong>Percent increase:</strong> 39.0 percent <strong>Total new jobs (2010-2020):</strong> 77,400 <strong>Median income:</strong> $76,310 <strong>States with the most jobs per capita:</strong> Rhode Island, Vermont, Maine Physical therapists assist patients by helping to address and correct dysfunctional movement and pain. They are required to have a postgraduate professional degree, typically a Doctor of Physical Therapy, and a license. Those completing these prerequisites join one of the fastest-growing professions in the country -- by 2020, the number of positions is expected to rise by 39 percent. The BLS states that "demand for physical therapy services will come, in large part, from the aging baby boomers, who are staying active later in life than previous generations did." The top 10 percent of physical therapists earned more than $107,920. <a href="http://247wallst.com/2012/08/30/the-best-paying-jobs-of-the-future-2/#ixzz258VQKtNN" target="_hplink">Read more at 24/7 Wall St. </a>

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    <strong>Percent increase:</strong> 43.5 percent <strong>Total new jobs (2010-2020):</strong> 23,400 <strong>Median income:</strong> $64,380 <strong>States with the most jobs per capita:</strong> Rhode Island, Florida, South Dakota Diagnostic medical sonographers work in hospitals and other facilities, conducting ultrasounds on patients and analyzing the resulting images. The BLS projects an increase of 43.5 percent in the number of positions between 2010 and 2020, which would raise the total number of such jobs to 77,100. Explaining the driving factors behind the growth, the BLS states that "as ultrasound technology evolves, it will be used as a substitute for procedures that are costly, invasive or expose patients to radiation." Sonographers typically need an associate's degree, and many employers prefer candidates to have professional certification. The top 10 percent of sonographers made more than $88,490 annually <a href="http://247wallst.com/2012/08/30/the-best-paying-jobs-of-the-future-2/#ixzz258VQKtNN" target="_hplink">Read more at 24/7 Wall St. </a>

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