Oil Prices Rise After Drop In US Unemployment Rate

Published February 3, 2012 4:09PM (EST)

NEW YORK (AP) — Oil prices rose Friday after the government reported that the U.S. economy added more jobs last month, which could drive up demand for fuel with more people heading back to work.

That would include gasoline for cars if there are more commuters on the road. Gasoline futures increased by 3.04 cents to $2.8993 per gallon

Benchmark crude rose by 76 cents to $97.12 per barrel in New York on Friday. Brent crude rose by $1.54 to $113.61 per barrel in London.

Prices jumped after the Labor Department reported that the U.S. economy added 243,000 jobs in January. That was an unexpectedly big increase for the first month of the year and the unemployment rate fell to 8.3 percent. The government says companies hired across the pay scale, from high-salary professional services to manufacturing.

At the pump, gasoline prices rose by 1.2 cents to a national average of $3.467 per gallon, according to auto club AAA, Wright Express and Oil Price Information Service. A gallon of regular unleaded is 17.9 cents higher than it was a month ago and 35.1 cents higher than it was this time last year.

In other energy trading, heating oil added 3.96 cents to $3.0925 per gallon. Natural gas fell by 6.4 cents to $2.49 per 1,000 cubic feet.

By Salon Staff

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