Crude Oil Prices Rise Slightly as Jobless Rate Falls
Oil prices rose more than 4% this week after a series of developments suggested that higher oil demand and tighter global supplies lay ahead.
If oil keeps rising, it could drive retail gasoline prices higher. But most analysts don't expect pump prices to go up for at least several weeks. The national average fell almost 3 cents this week to $3.286 per gallon on Friday, The Associated Press reported.
Benchmark crude rose 76 cents on Friday to finish the week at $100.96 per barrel in New York. Prices climbed almost every day after ending at $96.77 a barrel a week ago.
Brent crude rose 97 cents to finish at $109.68 a barrel in London.
Prices jumped early Friday after the government reported that the unemployment rate dropped last month to 8.6% — the lowest level since March 2009. Oil and gasoline demand has been tumbling in the U.S. It should rise as businesses ramp up and more people return to work.
And despite the promising economic data in the U.S., energy demand remains weak. Government data this week showed that gasoline consumption in November was at its lowest level since January 2004.