Oil price up, natural gas price down
Oil prices rose slightly Friday after a monthly U.S. jobs report showed stronger hiring in the U.S. in recent months, while natural gas fell 3.1 cents to close at $4.439 per 1,000 cubic feet.
Benchmark U.S. crude for May delivery rose 85 cents to close at $101.14 a barrel in New York. For the week, the contract fell 53 cents. The price has vacillated around $100 per barrel for most of the past month.
Brent crude, used to set prices for international varieties of oil used by many U.S. refiners, rose 57 cents to close at $106.62 a barrel in London.
The U.S. Labor Department said Friday that employers added 192,000 jobs in March. That’s slightly less than analysts had anticipated, but the Labor Department also revised upward the number of jobs added in previous months, which likely pushed oil higher, according to energy analyst Jim Ritterbusch.
When the labor market and the economy improve, demand for gasoline and other fuels rises and generally pushes oil prices up.
The average retail price of gasoline rose less than a penny to $3.57 per gallon, according to AAA, OPIS and Wright Express. That’s 9 cents per gallon more than a month ago and 7 cents per gallon less than last year at this time.
In other energy futures trading in New York, wholesale gasoline rose 1.9 cents to close at $2.931 a gallon and heating oil gained edged up 0.2 cents to $2.908 a gallon.