The price of oil fell back below $95 Friday after the U.S. government reported that May was another month of steady, but not spectacular hiring.
In morning trading in New York, benchmark oil for July delivery was down 30 cents to $94.46 a barrel. Oil rose as high as $95.34 a barrel earlier.
U.S. employers added 175,000 jobs in May, below the more robust pace that took place during the fall and winter.
The Labor Department says the unemployment rate rose to 7.6 percent from 7.5 percent in April. But the increase occurred because more people began looking for work, a good sign.
The government said the economy added 12,000 fewer jobs in April and March than originally estimated.
Oil prices were supported earlier by a carry-over from the bigger-than-expected drop in crude inventories reported by the U.S. Energy Department on Wednesday.
"The huge 6.2 million barrel drawdown of crude stocks ... is the largest draw down for crude inventories since the end of last year," said a report from Sucden Financial Research in London. The large drop in crude stockpiles "indicates the stronger demand outlook for the summer driving season as refining activity improves."
Meanwhile, Brent crude, a benchmark for many international oil varieties, was up 36 cents to $103.97 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.
In other energy futures trading on the Nymex:
- Wholesale gasoline was flat at to $2.85 a gallon.
- Heating oil was up 1 cent at $2.88 per gallon.
- Natural gas gained 1 cent to $3.83 per 1,000 cubic feet.
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