Oil prices rose Thursday, supported by better-than-expected U.S. economic data. The advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims of the jobless declined by 12,000 to 334,000 in the week ending June 8, the U.S. Labor Department reported. The number of new claims was smaller than analysts\' forecast, which indicated a gradual improvement of the U.S. labor market. U.S. retail sales rose in May, led by strong auto sales, the Commerce Department reported. Advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for May rose 0.6 percent to 421.1 billion dollars from the previous month, beating economists\' forecast of increasing 0.5 percent. Moreover, the U.S. manufacturing and trading companies\' inventories in April rose 0.3 percent from March, but their sales posted a slight decline of 0.1 percent, the Commerce Department said in a separate report. The encouraging economic data boosted market sentiment because the United States is the world\'s biggest oil consumer. World Bank on Wednesday scaled down its global economic growth forecast to 2.2 percent for this year from its previous forecast of 2.4 percent in January. Light, sweet crude for July delivery gained 81 cents, or 0.84 percent, to settle at 96.69 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent for July delivery increase 76 cents, or 0.73 percent, to close at 104.25 dollars a barrel.