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7. Meter Reader

2012 pay: $35,171
2011 pay: $34,171
Change in pay: +3%

This refers to the men and women who read the meters for utility companies including gas and electric, another dying profession as more companies move to automate meter reading. So even though the average pay for meter readers rose 3 percent in the past year, the job outlook landed it solidly on the 2012 “worst jobs” list.

“This is one of those jobs that quite possibly in five to 10 years won’t be around anymore,” Lee said. “The need for meter readers is evaporating.”

Some energy companies, for example, have automated their meter-reading process and let everyone who worked in that department go, Lee explained.

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