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updated: 10/5/2012 4:11 PM

Oil slips after posting biggest gain in 2 months

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  • Oil prices retreated a day after posting big gains as traders turned their attention to the release later Friday of a monthly U.S. jobs report.

      Oil prices retreated a day after posting big gains as traders turned their attention to the release later Friday of a monthly U.S. jobs report.

Associated Press

Oil fell 2 percent Friday as traders fretted that jobs aren't growing fast enough in the U.S. to significantly boost demand for fuel.

Benchmark oil closed down $1.83 to $89.88 per barrel in New York.

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The economy created 114,000 jobs in September, in line with what economists had expected. But those extra commuters might not budge the needle on gas demand, which was down 2.5 percent from a year earlier in the four weeks ended Sept. 28, according to Energy Department figures released Wednesday.

"That doesn't suggest really strong job growth," Gene McGillian, broker and analyst at Tradition Energy. McGillian said the report, combined with the fact that there are ample supplies of oil and low demand, drove prices lower.

Oil prices were volatile toward the end of the week as traders try to gauge the strength of global oil demand while also watching developments surrounding Syria for any signs of a disruption in supplies from the Middle East.

The last time oil had a three-day stretch where it gained or lost 2 percent or more each day was from June 20 to June 22.

The national average for gasoline rose a half-cent to $3.789 a gallon. Californians saw an extraordinary spike in gas prices because of refinery issues -- up 17 cents on average overnight -- while prices in most other states held steady or declined by a penny or two.

In London, Brent crude, which is used to price international varieties of oil, fell 56 cents to $112.02.

Among other energy futures traded in New York:

-- Natural gas gave up a penny to end at $3.396 per 1,000 cubic feet.

-- Heating oil fell 3.25 cents to $3.16 per gallon.

-- Wholesale gasoline gained a tenth of a penny to settle at $2.95 per gallon.

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