Dismal labor report pulls down interest rates

30-year fixed falls to 9-month low

Friday morning’s news of zero job growth in February, net of prior-month revisions, has taken low-fee mortgage rates slightly below 5.5 percent for the first time since last June, and that was the last time since 1950-something.

Flat employment in a single month is not a red-hot news item. However, the cumulative failure of payrolls to grow during a year of strong-on-the-surface GDP and profit growth has at last broken through the optimistic, rates-will-rise-any-minute consensus.