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Gas prices slide toward pre-spring levels

Photo by Hugh Osteen

Photo by Hugh Osteen

By Johnny Jackson

jjackson@henryherald.com

Average gas prices have reached near two-month lows across Georgia, according to AAA's Fuel Gauge Report.

The report revealed Monday that Georgians were paying an average of $3.61 per gallon at the pump for regular unleaded gas. The price was 27-cents cheaper than a month ago, and 8-cents cheaper than reported on April 15.

Georgia consumers paid a dollar less for a gallon of regular unleaded gas until last September, when prices began their eight-month-long climb, according to the AAA report.

AAA Auto Club South spokeswoman Jessica Brady noted gas prices have continued to slide lower since May, keeping in step with crude oil prices that have remained relatively unchanged in recent weeks.

Brady said the price of crude oil remained around $100 a barrel after the U.S. Department of Labor reported on June 3, that U.S. payrolls increased by 54,000 in May, the least amount added in the past eight months.

The labor department's Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that "non-farm payroll employment changed little (+54,000) in May, and the unemployment rate was essentially unchanged at 9.1 percent."

"The economic growth is showing signs of a slowdown, and with that comes a decrease in fuel demand," she continued. "Oil may drop below $100 this week after the pessimistic job report, but fuel prices are likely to remain relatively stable with little fluctuation."

The bureau noted job gains continued in professional and business services, healthcare, and mining. However, employment levels in other major private-sector industries changed little, and local government employment continued to decline.

May's labor statistics report indicated the number of unemployed people, at 13.9 million, the unemployment rate, at 9.1 percent, and the labor force, at 153.7 million. All were little changed over the month.

Brady said factories cut payrolls last month, resulting in an increased unemployment rate of 9.1 percent from 9 percent.

"Oil supplies continue to grow, with stockpiles advancing by 2.8 million barrels last week for a total of 373 million barrels in the nation's stockpiles," said Brady, citing the U.S. Department of Energy.