NEW YORK (AP):
The price of oil is higher after new reports on jobs and manufacturing show a steadily improving US economy that will need more oil and gas.
Benchmark oil on Thursday rose US$1.23 to US$100.63 per barrel at midday in New York. Brent crude rose US$1.13 to US$110.94 in London.
The US Commerce Department said orders for long-lasting, durable goods rose in December, and a private survey showed a range of economic indicators got stronger at the end of 2011.
The jobs market appears to be improving, even after a modest increase in unemployment claims last week.
Also on Thursday, the Energy Department said that natural gas supplies dropped more than expected last week, though they're still well above the five-year average.
Meanwhile, retail gasolene stayed at a national average of US$3.38 per gallon.