* U.S. economy creates 156,00 jobs, wages rise
* Treasury debt yields recover from multiweek lows
* U.S. 10-year yields could hit 3 pct by summer -fund manager (Adds new analyst comments, updates prices)
By Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss
NEW YORK, Jan 6 (Reuters) - U.S. Treasury debt yields rallied from multiweek lows on Friday after data showed a rebound in U.S. wages last month despite a smaller-than-expected jobs gain, which could drive the Federal Reserve to consider raising interest rates as early as the first quarter.
Yields on benchmark U.S. 10-year notes rose from a five-week trough, while those on 30-year bonds recovered from a seven-week low following the jobs data that reflected a steadily improving labor market.
U.S. two-year note yields rebounded as well, climbing from three-week lows hit earlier in the session.
Non-farm payrolls increased by 156,000 jobs in December, compared with market forecasts of a gain of 178,000, the Labor Department said.
But investors focused more on average hourly earnings, which increased 10 cents or 0.4 percent. That pushed the year-on-year rise in average hourly earnings to 2.9 percent, the biggest increase since June 2009, from 2.5 percent in November.
“I think the important thing is that the market has become less focused on the actual payrolls number,” said Richard Benson, co-head of portfolio management at Millennium Global in London. “It’s the wage number within the payrolls report which is more important and whether the economy is at full employment.”
A lack of earnings growth and inflation has been a major obstacle for the Fed in normalizing interest rates and the rise in wages suggested that the U.S. economy was nearing full employment, analysts said. That should keep the Fed on track to raise interest rates multiple times this year.
Fed fund futures after the U.S. job reports showed a roughly 25 percent chance the central bank will nudge rates higher at its March meeting, according to the CME Group’s FedWatch tool.
In late trading, the U.S. 10-year note was down 13/32 in price, yielding 2.419 percent, compared with 2.368 percent late Thursday.
“We definitely think rates are going to continue to climb from here,” said Justin Tabellione, senior fixed income portfolio manager, at Legal & General Investment Management America in Chicago.
“I would not be surprised to see 10-year yields closer to three percent some time this year as soon as the summer, once we get clarity on what’s going to happen on the fiscal stimulus plan.”
U.S. 30-year bond prices fell 25/32, yielding 3.002 percent , from Thursday’s 2.963 percent.
U.S. two-year note yields were at 1.213 percent from 1.178 percent on Thursday.
The belly of the curve - U.S. five-year and seven-year notes - also rose from four-week lows, with yields at 1.923 percent and 2.228 percent.
Reporting by Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss; Editing by Tom Brown