The price of oil jumped more than $1 a barrel Friday as the U.S. economy added fewer jobs than expected, fueling speculation that the Federal Reserve will reconsider its plans to slow economic stimulus.
Benchmark U.S. oil for February delivery gained $1.06 to $92.72 on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Oil rose as high as $93.38.
The world's largest economy added just 74,000 thousand jobs in December, the Labor Department said, while analysts had forecast the addition of 196,000 jobs. The unemployment rate fell from 7.0 percent to 6.7 percent, but it was mostly because of a drop in the number of people seeking work.
The Fed said in December it would start cutting back its bond purchasing program meant to spur economic growth by $10 billion a month. Outgoing Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said that further cuts would depend on how many new jobs were added in coming months.
The stimulus program, which has also kept interest rates low, has helped raise oil prices by weakening the dollar and also by attracting investors to commodities in search of higher profits.
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