Commodity Corner: Oil Down on US Jobs News

Crude oil futures fell by $1.51 Friday as lackluster U.S. employment figures trumped unease about how the ongoing strife in Egypt will affect the broader oil market.

Oil for March delivery slipped to $89.03 a barrel despite a U.S. Department of Labor report that the country's unemployment rate declined 0.4 percent in January to 9.0 percent. Eclipsing the lower unemployment figure was the agency's announcement that employers added only 36,000 jobs to the economy last month—roughly one-quarter the number that had been anticipated.

In contrast, Canada—a country whose population is roughly one-tenth that of the United States—added 69,000 jobs to its workforce in January.

Crude oil traded within a range from $88.45 to $91.67. Compared to Monday's settlement price of $92.19, it is down 3.4 percent for the week.

The anemic U.S. employment numbers, combined with concerns about an oversupplied market, also contributed to a six-cent decline in March gasoline futures. Front-month gasoline settled at $2.44 a gallon Friday.

March gasoline fluctuated from $2.43 to $2.52, and it is down 2.4 percent since Monday.

Natural gas for March delivery lost three cents to end the day at $4.31 per thousand cubic feet, the high point for the day. It bottomed out at $4.29 during Friday's trading, and it is down 2.5 percent for the week.