Crude prices retreated Friday as U. S. unemployment rate rose to the highest since 1992, Xinhua reported.
Oil prices were traded below 40 U.S. dollars a barrel in early sessions as traders see layoffs as an instant drag on oil demand.
The Labor Department report said 598,000 jobs were lost in January while unemployment rate rose to 7.6 percent, the highest since 1992. For all of 2008, the U.S. economy lost a net total of 2.9 million jobs.
The prices rebounded later in day as U.S. stocks rallied prior to a Senate vote on economic stimulus plan.
Light, sweet crude for March delivery dropped 1 dollar to settle at 40.17 U.S. dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange after falling as low as 38.60 dollars a barrel.
In London, the March Brent contract was down 25 cents to settle at 46.21 dollars on the ICE Futures exchange.