NEW YORK (AP) — Oil rose above $93 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.
Benchmark oil for June delivery rose $2.21 to close at $93.64 on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Oil fell to a year low of $86.68 last week, but has since risen for six straight days, increasing $6.96, or 8 percent.
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, rose $1.68 to $103.41 a barrel on the ICE futures exchange in London.
In other energy futures trading on the Nymex:
— Gasoline rose 6 cents to $2.81 per gallon.
— Heating oil added 6 cents to $2.90 a gallon.
— Natural gas was flat at $4.17 per 1,000 cubic feet.