Oil prices gain amid upbeat job data

New York, March 5 (IANS) Oil prices rose on Friday as newly-released jobs US report came out better-than-expected.

Total non-farm payroll employment increased by 242,000 in February, topping market expectations, and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 4.9 percent, the US Labour Department announced on Friday.

In February, average hourly earnings for all employees on private non-farm payrolls declined 3 cents to $25.35, following an increase of 12 cents in January. Average hourly earnings have risen by 2.2 percent over the year, Xinhua news agency reported.

Analysts believed that the upbeat jobs data pointed to a modest recovery in the US economic growth, which is supportive to the oil market.

The market also got a boost after Saudi Arabia and Russia announced recently that they would halt production increases as long as other major producers followed suit.

The West Texas Intermediate for April delivery moved up $1.35 to settle at $35.92 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while Brent crude for May delivery increased $1.65 to close at $38.72 a barrel on the London ICE Futures Exchange.

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