Oil prices rose in Asian trade Monday as robust US jobs data boosted hopes for stronger energy demand in the world's biggest economy. New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for January delivery, was up 18 cents at $97.83 a barrel in afternoon trade, while Brent North Sea crude for January rose 13 cents to $111.74. Singapore's United Overseas Bank said in a research note that prices were supported "by the outlook for increased demand after strong jobs data from the US, the world?s top oil consumer". The US government reported last week that the unemployment rate fell sharply to 7.0 percent in November from 7.3 percent in October. The data, which pointed to further strength in the US economy, also saw a better-than-expected surge of 203,000 new jobs created. As the world's largest oil consuming nation, the health of the American economy has a major influence on the crude oil market.