US crude oil futures ended more than 3% lower yesterday, tumbling as data showed disappointing jobs data for June that prompted deeper worries about the stalling economic recovery.content Nymex crude for August delivery settled at $84.45 a barrel, falling $2.77 or 3.18%. For the week, it dipped 51¢, or 0.6%, after gaining 6.5% in the week to June 29. Brent crude prices fell more than 2%. US employers added only 80,000 jobs in June, fewer than expected by analysts, and the unemployment rate remained at 8.2%, fuelling fears Europe’s debt crisis was shifting the US economy into a lower gear. “People were looking for something better, some indicator that may show we’re crawling out of this trough,” said Nigel Gault, chief US economist at IHS Global Insight. “But everything here says we’re still in it.” Norway’s oil industry and labour unions agreed to restart negotiations today at the request of the government after expectations early yesterday that Oslo would act to return striking workers to their jobs after industry’s threat of a lockout. Crude futures briefly pared losses on the news that the government chose not intervene, hoping the parties can resolve the dispute themselves. The Norway strike and ongoing tensions over Iran’s disputed nuclear programme allowed Brent crude prices to stay on pace to avoid a weekly loss, with US crude hovering near unchanged from a week ago. Brent August crude fell $2.25 to $98.45 a barrel by 1822 GMT, having slipped to $97.86 intraday. A close above $97.80 will allow Brent to post a gain for the week. Thin volumes characterised trading for both Brent and US crude, with total volumes for both contracts well below 30-day averages. Monetary easing by central banks in China, the eurozone and Britain on Thursday had underscored concerns about a fragile global economy that has muddied the demand outlook for commodities. “The latest jobs data also underscores the weakness that has emerged in the global economy,” said Gene McGillian of Tradition Energy, Stamford, Connecticut. “With the economies of China and Europe also weakening, this spells lower global demand for energy.” The disappointing jobs report added support to hopes that the US Federal Reserve will move to bolster a sputtering economy. Adding to the bearish tone, the head of the International Monetary Fund voiced concern over the deterioration of the global economy, saying the IMF will downgrade some of its forecasts. Additional pressure on dollar-denominated oil prices came from the weak dollar. The euro slumped to a two-year low against the dollar as the US jobs report added to concerns that Europe’s debt crisis is weighing on US economic growth and stoked strong risk aversion and a flight to safe havens. The downdraft from the disappointing job additions sent US stocks down more than 1% and put the S&P 500 index on track to post a weekly loss. Norway’s oil industry and labour unions agreed to meet today with a state mediator to make another attempt at reaching a deal and end a strike that has cut oil output by 13% and natural gas production by 4% and threatens to cut off exports. Industry upped the ante on Thursday, calling for a lockout from July 10, a move that many analysts thought made likely intervention by Oslo to end the dispute. That threat to North Sea production comes amid the start of the European Union’s embargo on Iranian oil that started on July 1, as part of the West’s effort to hem in Tehran’s disputed nuclear ambitions. Iran has seen crude exports fall sharply from year-ago levels as the West tightens sanctions. from gulf times.