The yield on the 10-year Treasury note climbed above 2.9 percent, a key level it's failed to stay above multiple times this year, as new data pointed to a strengthening U.S. economy.
Traders said rising yields in the German bond market also pushed domestic rates higher on Thursday.
The U.S. five-year note yield hit a high of 2.7635 percent, its highest level since August 2009 when it yielded as high as 2.7772 percent.
The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note was higher at 2.91 percent at 2:29 p.m. ET, while the yield on the 30-year Treasury bond was higher at 3.097 percent. Bond yields move inversely to prices.
The upward move in long-term yields come a day after the yield on the two-year Treasury note hit its highest level since September 2008.
In economic news, the Labor Department reported on Thursday that new applications for U.S. unemployment benefits fell last week. Initial claims for state unemployment benefits fell 1,000 to a seasonally adjusted 232,000 for the week ended April 14. The latest numbers likely suggested continued job growth and a tight labor market, often a precursor of wage inflation in the economy.
Also Thursday, the Philadelphia Fed Index, a measure of manufacturing activity in the district, came in at 23.2 for March, higher than the 20.5 level expected by Wall Street economists.
The Philly Fed reading "offers further evidence of one of our primary concerns this year — higher input prices squeezing profitability as demand wanes," wrote Ian Lyngen, head of rates strategy at BMO Capital Markets. "Treasuries were under pressure ahead of the data and the curve was modestly steeper."
An uptick in global rates also appeared to buoy U.S. Treasury yields on Thursday, with the 10-year German bund adding 5 basis points to its two-day climb. The 10-year bund hit a high 0.591 percent, its highest level since March 21, when the bund yielded as high as 0.604 percent.
"Just as low [foreign rates] have been keeping U.S. yields from rising, they will also have the opposite effect as they rise," said Gary Pollack, head of fixed-income trading at Deutsche Bank Private Wealth Management.
"We have easing of geopolitical tensions in the world, we have higher commodity prices, we're in the ninth year of an economic expansion, and the Fed looks like it will raise rates in June," he added.