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Treasury yields fall after Fed reports only ‘modest’ economic growth

Treasury yields turned lower on Wednesday after investors digested fresh employment data.

The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note fell 2 basis points to 0.64% while the yield on the 30-year Treasury bond dipped 5 basis points to 1.37%. Yields move inversely to prices.

Data on Wednesday showed private payrolls increased by 428,000 in August, about double that of July but well below Dow Jones estimates of 1.17 million, according to the latest count from ADP.

Big business was responsible for most of the job creation, with 298,000 new workers. At the sector level, leisure and hospitality led with 129,000 new jobs. 

“The August job postings demonstrate a slow recovery,” ADP said in a statement. “Job gains are minimal, and businesses across all sizes and sectors have yet to come close to their pre-COVID employment levels.”

Investors are awaiting a key monthly jobs report on Friday, which is forecast to show payrolls continued to rebound in August. Economists polled by Dow Jones forecast that 1.255 million jobs were created in August.

“The recovery in jobs lost in this pandemic recession was always a weak one, especially in service-sector employment like retailing, hotels, and bars and restaurants, but now for a second month in a row it is looking like the jobs are not going to come back unless there is more stimulus from Washington to bolster economic demand and keep business activity and consumer spending growing,” Chris Rupkey, chief financial economic at MUFG, said in a note.

Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve reported Wednesday that economic growth is continuing but remains “modest” and “well below” what was happening prior to the pandemic, according to the central bank’s latest “Beige Book” report.

The summary also said that employment rose overall though some areas “reported slowing job growth and increased hiring volatility” as some temporary furloughs turned into permanent job losses, particularly in the services industry. Wages rose in some sectors, especially in lower-paying areas that were hit hardest in the early days of the Covid-19 shutdown.

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