The price of oil moved higher above $97 a barrel Friday, buoyed by stronger economic growth and falling unemployment in the world's largest economy.
By early afternoon in Europe, benchmark U.S. crude for January delivery was up 27 cents at $97.33 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. On Thursday, oil rose to near $98 for the first time in five weeks before closing at $97.38, up 18 cents.
U.S. data showed the outlook for hiring is improving and the economy is growing at its fastest pace in more than a year.
On Friday, the Labor Department said the U.S. unemployment rate in November fell to a five-year low of 7 percent from 7.3 percent in October. Employers added 203,000 jobs last month, many in higher-paying sectors like manufacturing and construction.
The jobs report came after Thursday's data from the Commerce Department showing that the U.S. economy grew at a 3.6 percent annualized rate in July through September, the fastest since early 2012. The numbers signaled momentum in the economy, although some economists cautioned that nearly half the growth came from a buildup in business stockpiles, a trend that could reverse in the current quarter.