Oil falls 2 pct on weak US jobs report

By CHRIS KAHN | July 8, 2011 | 10:00 AM EDT

NEW YORK (AP) — Oil is down 2 percent after the government indicated hiring is at a standstill in the United States.

The Labor Department said Friday that employers added the fewest jobs in nine months and the unemployment rate rose to 9.2 percent in June.

A slowdown in hiring means that gasoline demand could remain stagnant as fewer new workers join the daily commute.

Benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude for August delivery gave up $1.73 to $96.93 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. In London, Brent crude lost 44 cents to $118.17 per barrel on the ICE Futures Exchange.

Meanwhile, retail gasoline prices increased for the third day in a row, reaching $3.594 per gallon.