NEW YORK, Oct. 22 (UPI) -- Crude oil prices dropped to less than $98 per barrel Tuesday in New York after the Labor Department said the unemployment rate dropped to 7.2 percent.
Following a 17-day U.S. government shutdown of non-essential services, the Labor Department's report, which was originally set for an Oct. 4 release, was the first major economic report to be released since the government went back to work.
The jobs added for the month -- 148,000 -- were less than expected, prompting investors to conclude the U.S. Federal Reserve would have reason to continue with its $85 billion per month asset purchasing program.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate crude oil gave up $1.42 cents to $97.80 per barrel. Reformulated blendstock gasoline prices shed 3.43 cents to $2.6195 per gallon. Home heating oil lost 1.36 cents to $2.997 per gallon. Natural gas was off 7 cents to $3.59 per million British thermal units.
At the pump, the national average price of unleaded gasoline dropped to $3.344 per gallon from Monday's $3.349, AAA's Daily Fuel Gauge Report said.