Crude oil prices dropped to less than $99 per barrel Tuesday in New York ahead of the U.S. Labor Department\'s employment situation report. Following a 17-day U.S. government shutdown of non-essential services, the Labor Department\'s report, which was originally set for an Oct. 4 release, is the first major economic report to be released since the government went back to work. Economists are expecting the unemployment rate to hold at 7.3 percent. On the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate crude oil gave up 25 cents to $98.97 per barrel. Reformulated blendstock gasoline prices added 0.73 cents to $2.6611 per gallon. Home heating oil gained 0.82 cents to $3.0188 per gallon. Natural gas was off 2 cents to $3.65 per million British thermal units. At the pump, the national average price of unleaded gasoline dropped to $3.344 per gallon from Monday\'s $3.349, AAA\'s Daily Fuel Gauge Report said.