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Consumer Confidential: Tough jobs, lower gas prices, American Eagle recall

September 3, 2010 |  9:50 am

Here's your forget-me-not Friday roundup of consumer news from around the Web:

--The Labor Day weekend is upon us, and the news on the work front isn't great. The unemployment rate ticked up a smidge to 9.6% in August from 9.5% a month before. Overall, the economy lost another 54,000 jobs as thousands of temporary U.S. census workers finished their gigs. But there was a bright spot: Private employers added 67,000 jobs, which isn't enough to put two chickens in every pot but was a whole lot better than economists had been expecting. So the trend line remains basically positive, although most of us aren't feeling much economic love.

--I take that back. Here's a little love: Gas prices are falling. They've been heading south for the past few weeks, and the energy pros say they could go lower still as the peak driving season hits our rear-view mirrors. According to AAA, the national average for a gallon of unleaded regular is now $2.681. That's 6.6 cents lower than a month ago (but still 8.5 cents higher than a year ago). The national average has stayed below $3 a gallon for nearly two years. Perversely, that high unemployment rate means fewer cars are on the road. That means less demand for gas, which helps keep prices down.

--Heads up: American Eagle Outfitters is recalling some of its 77kids girls pants, jeans and shorts. The company says the waistband closure can come off and potentially pose a choking hazard. The clothes were sold in stores and online between July 8 and Aug. 30. They include the 3007 cord pant, 3012 boyfriend jean, 3013 colored Bermuda short, 3029 medium vintage flare jean, 3030 doodle flare jean, 3034 rip and repair flare jean and the 3035 denim Bermuda short. They were available in sizes 12 to 18 months, 18 to 24 months, 2 years, 3 years, 4 years and 5 years. If you've got any of these, bring them back to American Eagle for a full refund and a $20 card.

-- David Lazarus