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BlackRock's Rieder: Jobs report 'proof' QE doesn't work

Friday, 10 Jan 2014 | 4:04 PM ET
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Friday, 10 Jan 2014 | 12:00 PM ET
What the jobs data says about the strength of the economy, with Paul Richards, UBS; Rick Rieder, BlackRock's CIO of fixed income; and CNBC's Steve Liesman.

Friday's dismal labor report is proof that the Fed's aggressive bond-buying program has done little for jobs, BlackRock's chief investment officer of fixed income told CNBC's "Halftime Report" on Friday.

Job growth dropped sharply in December, with the U.S. economy adding just 74,000. It was a far cry from the roughly 197,000 investors were looking for, bringing an end to a string of better-than-expected monthly gains.

"Payrolls disappointed significantly today, and not only in absolute gains, but in the critical hourly earnings and average workweek components," said BlackRock's Rick Rieder, who oversees $640 billion in assets.

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The Fed, which had been buying bonds at a rate of $85 billion per month, voted in December to trim that amount to $75 billion starting in January, citing better job growth and an improving economy.

It had been widely thought that the drawdown of purchases would continue to grow, but Friday's report could change the Fed's thinking when its Open Market Committee meets in late January.

But in Rieder's view, quantitative easing is having no impact on the jobs market, and the Fed should continue to cut its bond buying.

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"The Fed continuing down the path of tapering makes sense because it clearly doesn't influence unemployment," said Rieder. "This number shows how big of a problem structural unemployment has become."

Rieder pointed to mismatched skill sets and rising employer costs as the true factors driving the labor force.

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Because of his view that Friday's jobs report will not alter the Fed's QE plans, Rieder said that he is focusing his massive fixed income portfolio on long-term Treasurys and muni bonds, adding: "You've normalized interest rates on the long end. We actually like the long end."

—By CNBC's Katie Young. Follow her on Twitter: @KatieCNBC.

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