NEW YORK, Sept. 4 (UPI) -- Crude oil prices struggled to get out of the gate in early Friday trading following a slowdown in the U.S. labor market, even as broad-based optimism emerged.
The U.S. Labor Department said total non-farm payrolls increased by 173,000 in August, pushing the national average unemployment rate down to 5.1 percent. Healthcare and financial services posted gains, while manufacturing and mining posted net job losses.
Manufacturing employment fell in August by 17,000, though the overall sector has been relatively flat for the year. Mining jobs fell by 9,000.
"Since reaching a peak in December 2014, mining employment has declined by 90,000," the Labor Department.
Crude oil has traded in a volatile market navigating a string of bad news from China. A reported contraction in Chinese factory activity helped push crude oil prices deep into negative territory earlier this week.
The U.S. benchmark for crude oil prices, West Texas Intermediate, was down a fraction of a percent from Thursday's close to sell for $46.25 per barrel at the start of trading in New York. Brent, the global benchmark, followed suit, moving down by about a half percent to $50.42 per barrel.
Eurostat, the European Union's statistics office, reported industrial producer prices fell 2.1 percent year-on-year in July and were down 0.1 percent from the previous month. European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said Thursday he would use "all the instruments available" to move the European economy forward.
The U.N. Industrial Development Organization said global manufacturing output is expected to rise steadily through the year despite declines since in key economies like China. Global growth is expected at 3.5 percent for the year.
"However, regional conflicts, especially in the Middle East and North Africa, and financial instability in Europe, may adversely affect the growth figures," UNIDO said.