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Oil Prices Continue To Rise

Oil Prices Continue To Rise - An unexpected increase in the unemployment rate wasn't enough to stall oil's rally Friday as prices edged higher for a third day.

Many traders appeared to view the discouraging jobless report as a possible blip after two days in which stronger economic data from the United States and China created hope that the global economy was improving.

Benchmark oil for January delivery added 18 cents to $88.18 a barrel in early trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Many analysts expect the price to top $90 a barrel before the end of the year.

Oil's increase already has appeared at the pump, where prices are approaching the high for the year. The national average for a gallon of unleaded regular gasoline was $2.90 on Friday, according to AAA, Wright Express and Oil Price Information Service. That's 3.7 cents higher than a week ago and nearly 27 cents more than a year ago.

The year's high of $2.92 a gallon occurred in early May. Analysts expect the price to continue to climb over the next week, perhaps coming close to $3 a gallon. Motorists along the West Coast, in Hawaii and parts of the Northeast already are paying from $3.014 a gallon to $3.517 a gallon. The lowest prices are in Colorado, Wyoming, Texas and much of the Midwest.

The Labor Department said Friday that the nation's unemployment rate climbed to seven-month high of 9.8 percent in November, as hiring slowed. Employers added a net total of only 39,000 jobs last month as retailers, factories, construction companies, financial firms and the government all cut jobs.

Oil Prices Continue To Rise

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