Oil futures declined on Thursday as a report on jobs added signals of a gloomy outlook in the economy of the United States. Investors worry demand from the top consumer of oil in the world may curb.

A report on jobs data put pressure in oil prices as first time applications for jobless benefits rose to 407,000 on the week ended March 29, the highest since 2005.

Despite yesterday's unexpected data of a 4.53 million barrel decline in gasoline stockpiles, gasoline inventories remain more than 9 percent above their average.

The U.S. Energy Department said yesterday, demand of crude oil slumped more than 479,000 barrels per day in the United States, in the first 13 weeks of 2008 compared to the year 2007.

Yet the truth is that demand for oil over all is weakening said Phil Flynn vice president of futures brokerage Alaron Trading Corporation in a research note today.

Crude futures for May delivery fell 0.58 cents or 0.55 percent to $104.25 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange by 4:35 p.m. Futures rose more than $3 after the report from the Energy Department was released yesterday.

Brent crude fell $1.22 or 1.17 percent to $102.63 a barrel in London's ICE Futures Exchange.

On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said for the first time that the economy in the U.S. may fall into recession in the first semester of 2008.