Commodity Corner: Crude's Gains Evaporate for the Week

Thanks in large part to an uninspiring jobs report from the U.S. Department of Labor, September oil futures fell by $1.31 Friday.

Friday's settlement price of $80.70 a barrel was enough to push crude oil 64 cents lower than the price for Monday. Earlier in the day, the Labor Department reported that the U.S. economy lost 131,000 jobs in July but the unemployment rate held steady at 9.5%. Seeking to put a positive spin on the news, Labor Secretary Hilda Solis stated that the economy gained 71,000 private-sector jobs last month. In addition, she claimed that pending legislation before Congress will help local governments to "save thousands" of public-sector jobs in school districts, law enforcement, and fire departments. Traders evidently did not find solace in the prospect of more federal aid to lower-level government entities, however.

The intraday range for oil Friday was $80.18 to $82.67.

Natural gas and gasoline futures also declined Friday. In the case of front-month natural gas, the settlement price slipped 13 cents to $4.47 per thousand cubic feet after trading from $4.48 to $4.65. The price of a gallon of gasoline, meanwhile, fell a nickel to $2.11 after fluctuating from $2.10 to $2.18.

Natural gas is down 23 cents for the week and gasoline is down six cents.