Oil price climbs above $100 a barrel

Strong economic reports in US push benchmark oil price above $100 a barrel

Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) -- The price of oil is higher after new reports on jobs and manufacturing show a steadily improving U.S. economy that will need more oil and gas.

Benchmark oil on Thursday rose $1.10 to $100.50 per barrel in New York. Brent crude rose $1.13 to $110.94 in London.

The Commerce Department said orders for long-lasting, durable goods rose in December, and a private survey showed a range of economic indicators got stronger at the end of 2011.

The jobs market appears to be improving, even after a modest increase in unemployment claims last week.

Also on Thursday the Energy Department said that natural gas supplies dropped more than expected last week, though they're still well above the five-year average.

Meanwhile, retail gasoline stayed at a national average of $3.38 per gallon.

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