US Treasury yields little changed after job openings hit record in August

U.S. government debt yields were little changed Tuesday after the Labor Department said that the number of job openings in the United States raced to a record in August.

The number of openings hit a series high of 7.1 million on the last business day of August, the government said, adding to the existing belief that the U.S. labor market is at one of its tightest points in a generation.

The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note initially rose on the back of the data, but later turned lower. At around 1:13 p.m. ET, the yield traded at 3.158 percent, while the yield on the 30-year Treasury bond was also little changed at 3.335 percent. Bond yields move inversely to prices.

In the Bureau of Labor Statistics's most recent report on the employment situation the unemployment rate in the U.S. dropped to 3.7 percent, a level not seen in nearly 50 years. Closely-watched average hourly earnings rose 8 cents — or 0.3 percent — over the month, matching August's gain.

The hot job reports may also portend acceleration in wage growth, which could be a worry for the Federal Reserve trying to keep a lid on inflation.


"The report has been trending higher for a long time now, so I think the markets got immune to a lot of these prints, but I'd like to think the overall data is still fantastic, because the quit rate was higher in the low-wage categories such as leisure and hospitality," said Thierry Wizman, global interest rates and currencies strategist at Macquarie Group.

"There was always sort of a problem trying to fill skilled labor, but now it looks like it's getting a bit more problematic to fill even the lower-paying positions," Wizman added.

The recent economic data helped the Fed's policymaking arm defend its third quarter-point increase to the federal funds rate in September. The central bank also upped its anticipation for economic growth this year to 3.1 percent, citing manageable inflation and an unemployment rate of 3.9 percent.

The Fed and markets both anticipate a fourth rate hike in December.