U.S. Government-Bond Yields Climb After Jobs Data

09/04/2020 | 01:04pm

By Sebastian Pellejero

U.S. government bond yields rose after data showed the economy added more jobs than expected last month, driving down the unemployment rate.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note recently traded at 0.688%, according to Tradeweb, on pace to end a five-session streak of declines. That compares with 0.645% before the report's release and 0.621% at Thursday's close.

Yields on longer-dated Treasurys also climbed, with the 30-year yield recently trading at 1.431%, up from 1.341% Thursday.

Yields, which rise when bond prices fall, climbed after the Labor Department said the U.S. added 1.4 million jobs in August. That was above the forecast of economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal, who had expected about 1.3 million increase in jobs. The unemployment rate fell to 8.4%, dropping below double digits for the first time since March as employees headed back to work.

Friday's data was the latest sign that the U.S. economic recovery is grinding on, despite challenges including the expiration of an extra $600 a week in federal jobless benefits and gridlocked efforts to pass a new stimulus bill, said Michael Pearce, senior U.S. economist at Capital Economics.

"Even though employment is still rebounding, there's still a long way to go," he said.

Yields had declined for five straight sessions, with investors betting on years of loose monetary policy aimed at supporting businesses and households recovering from the pandemic's fallout. They have traded within a relatively narrow range recently, though some investors expect greater volatility in the gaps between yields on shorter- and longer-term debt in the weeks ahead.

Among the key events that could push yields higher: this month's meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee and a new round of fiscal stimulus out of Congress. Investors will also be looking for more guidance around the Fed's recent move to drop its longstanding practice of pre-emptively lifting rates to head off higher inflation.

"There's still very real, very concrete problems that the country and the Fed need to address," said Jim Vogel, interest rates strategist at FHN Financial. "It's now a question of how much medicine needs to be applied, and when?"

Write to Sebastian Pellejero at sebastian.pellejero@wsj.com

 

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