Oil rises above $92 on US unemployment claims data

Oil rises above $92 on US unemployment claims data; pump prices dip to $3.51

Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) -- Oil rose above $92 a barrel for the first time in two weeks Thursday, as the latest data on U.S. unemployment claims suggested job growth may pick up from last month's sluggish pace.

The gain comes a day after oil had its biggest increase of the year.

Benchmark oil for June delivery was up 68 cents to $92.11 at midday on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Thursday morning, the Labor Department said the number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits fell last week to a seasonally adjusted 339,000, the second-fewest in more than five years. The drop suggests that layoffs have declined, which is a positive sign for gasoline demand.

At the pump, the average price for a gallon of gas slipped slightly to $3.51 a gallon. That's down 15 cents from a month ago and is 33 cents cheaper that at this time last year.

Brent crude, which is used to price oil used by many U.S. refiners, was up 68 cents to $102.41 a barrel on the ICE futures exchange in London.

In other energy futures trading on the Nymex:

— Gasoline rose 3 cents to $2.78 per gallon.

— Heating oil added 2 cents to $2.85 a gallon.

— Natural gas was flat at $4.17 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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