Oil rises on solid gain in US hiring; gasoline up

The price of oil crept up to near $102 a barrel Friday after a solid increase in U.S. employment and a decline in the dollar.

Benchmark U.S. crude for April delivery rose $1.02 to close at $102.58 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. After a swing in prices earlier in the week due to the situation in Ukraine, oil ended the week with a loss of 1 cent.

Brent crude, used to set prices for international varieties of crude, gained 90 cents to $109 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.

The brutal winter weather didn't faze U.S. employers, who added 175,000 jobs, far more than the two previous months. The Labor Department said the unemployment rate rose to 6.7 percent from a five-year low of 6.6 percent, but that was because more people grew optimistic about their job prospects and began seeking work.

The dollar fell against other currencies, helping oil. A weak dollar encourages holders of other currencies to buy dollar-denominated assets such as oil.

At the gas pump, the average price for a gallon of gas across the U.S. rose 1 cent to $3.48. That's 21 cents higher than a month ago, but still 24 cents cheaper than at this time last year.

In other energy futures trading on Nymex:

— Wholesale gasoline rose 3 cents to $2.97 per gallon.

— Heating oil added 3 cents to $3.01 per gallon.

— Natural gas fell 4 cents to $4.62 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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