Price of oil falls slightly after jobs report offers mixed picture of US economy

The price of oil ended the week lower after the latest U.S. jobs report offered a mixed picture of the economy.

Benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude dropped 33 cents to finish at US$85.93 a barrel in New York on Friday, the fourth consecutive day of price declines. Oil fell 3.4 per cent this week.

Brent crude, which is used to price international varieties of oil, fell one cent to US$107.02 a barrel, on the ICE Futures exchange in London.

The U.S. Labour Department said 146,000 jobs were created in November, which was more than economists had anticipated.

As well, the unemployment rate fell to 7.7 per cent from 7.9 per cent in October, but that was largely because more people stopped looking for work and weren’t counted as unemployed. And job gains for September and October were revised lower.

Meanwhile, in another bad sign for energy demand in Europe, Germany’s central bank lowered its expectation for economic growth next year.

In other energy futures trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange, heating oil fell 2.79 cents to finish at US$2.9153 a U.S. gallon (3.79 litres), wholesale gasoline rose less than a penny to end at US$2.5974 a gallon and natural gas fell 11.5 cents to finish at $3.551 per 1,000 cubic feet.