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Strong jobs turn up pressure on Fed to act

Why the jobs number isn't all good news

After February's surprisingly strong jobs report, the Fed is now even more likely to send a strong signal at its March meeting that a rate hike is near, and more traders are now speculating on the first move in June.

But a number of economists say the central bank is still likely to hold off in June, and move to raise rates in September or even later because of the lack of wage growth and inflation.

Nonfarm payrolls for February totaled 295,000, more than 50,000 above economists' consensus, and the unemployment rate fell to 5.5 percent, from 5.7 percent. Average hourly wages crept up less than expected—at just 0.1 percent, after a surprise gain of 0.5 percent in January and a decline in December.

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Treasury yields rose Friday and stocks sank as traders reacted to the strong labor report and its potential to pull the Fed off the sidelines. The 10-year yield, at 2.08 early in the day, rose to 2.23 percent. The two-year yield was at a 2015 high of 0.72 percent, from less than 0.60 early in the day.