US Treasury yields fall after jobs report misses expectations

  • Nonfarm payrolls rose 103,000 in March and the unemployment rate held at 4.1 percent, coming up short of Wall Street expectations.
  • But the closely-followed average hourly earnings number rose 0.3 percent, just ahead of expectations of a 0.2 percent increase.

U.S. government debt yields fell on Friday after the monthly jobs report missed Wall Street expectations.

The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note fell 5 basis points to 2.772 percent at 3:59 a.m. ET, while the yield on the 30-year Treasury bond also slipped 5 basis points to 3.017 percent. Bond yields move inversely to prices.

Nonfarm payrolls rose 103,000 in March and the unemployment rate held at 4.1 percent, coming up short of Wall Street expectations, according to a government report Friday.

Economists had been expecting a payrolls gain of 193,000 and the unemployment rate to decline one-tenth of a point to 4 percent.

But the closely-followed average hourly earnings number rose 0.3 percent, just ahead of expectations of a 0.2 percent increase. That number brings the annualized figure to 2.7 percent. The average work week was unchanged at 34.5 hours.

"There was weakness in the non-farm payrolls ... if you look at the numbers, a lot of it was construction weakness," said Thierry Wizman, global interest rates and currencies strategist at Macquarie Group. But "I think that markets will be looking at wages. The 0.3 percent month-over-month figures suggests we're starting to see some state-level minimum wage effects coming through."

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Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said Friday that the U.S. economy is growing at a healthy clip and continued gradual rate hikes will be necessary.

While acknowledging lower productivity and lagging labor force participation, Powell's comments were largely upbeat and expectant of inflation reaching the Fed's 2-percent goal.

"After what at times has been a slow recovery from the financial crisis and the Great Recession, growth has now picked up," the central bank chief said during a speech in Chicago. "The labor market has been strong, and my colleagues and I on the Federal Open Market Committee expect it to remain strong."

Markets across the globe have been on a roller coaster ride during recent sessions as concerns over a potential trade war between China and the U.S. continue.

After China announced tariffs on 106 U.S. products Wednesday, in retaliation against initial U.S. plans for tariffs on key Chinese imports, President Donald Trump threatened more tariffs on the Asian nation, stating that he has asked the United States Trade Representative to consider $100 billion in additional tariffs against China. Consequently, concerns that a trade war is brewing rattled investor sentiment Friday.