"I'm looking for a soft report. I'm kind of hoping it's stronger since the underlying trend in labor growth hasn't changed at all," said Deutsche Bank chief U.S. economist Joseph LaVorgna. He said 2.2 million jobs a year have been created in the last several years. "That works out to be 183,000 a month. We tend to have strength early in the year, that gives way to weakness that gives way to improvement in November and December."
LaVorgna expects to see 130,000 nonfarm payrolls, in line with the ADP private sector jobs report last week.
"We're doing ourselves a disservice by looking at the monthly trend. If you look at the three-month moving average, it peaked in February at 233,000. Since then it slowed to 143,000," he said. He said if there are revisions to the September number, they would likely be positive, which would also get the market's attention.
Nomura Americas Treasury strategist George Goncalves said he believes there are more risks that the number will be worse than expected, rather than better. The market may not move much on a poor report, but a better number would get a reaction. "It we got a 150,000 number, the bond market would sell off. 175,000 plus, you could start to see the market come under pressure," he said.
(Read more: Employers: 'Skills gap' is not our problem to fix)
No matter what, the number will trigger more speculation about when the Fed will taper its bond buying program. After last week's Fed meeting, traders viewed the Fed's comments as less dovish - not hawkish - but clearly less dovish.
That caused some speculation that the Fed might want to start paring back its $85 billion a month in bond buying after its December meeting. As of now, many firms expect the Fed to move in March.
Besides jobs data at 8:30 a.m. ET, there is also consumer spending and personal income. Consumer spending is at 9:55 a.m.
There are also several Fed appearances, including Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke who is on a panel at 3:30 p.m. on the financial crisis at an IMF event, along with former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers.
(Watch this: Fed only temporarily 'on hold': Economist)
Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhart separately speaks in Oxford, Miss. on the economic outlook at 12 p.m., and San Francisco Fed President John Williams speaks at 4 p.m. in Los Angeles on the economy and monetary policy.
Earnings are expected from Brookfield Asset Management, Cablevision, Telefonica, Covidien, Leap Wireless and Nippon Telegraph.
—By CNBC's Patti Domm. Follow here on Twitter @pattidomm.