The August employment report is the last major read on the economy before the Federal Reserve's September policy meeting.
The government said Friday that nonfarm payrolls grew less-than-expected at 169,000 last month with the unemployment rate dipping to 7.3 percent. Consensus estimates, according to Thomson Reuters, had pegged job growth at 180,000 with no change in the 7.4 percent unemployment rate.
Investors will be trying to discern what it means for the future of the Fed's $85-billion-a-month bond-buying program, and whether the central bank will start to taper those purchases this month.
CNBC will be providing analysis on what this means for your investments.
11:05 a.m. ET
Goldman Sachs chief economist Jan Hatzius told CNBC that the disappointing jobs number is unlikely to stop the Federal Reserve from tapering, but markets should expect a more dovish tone from the central bank.
"In general, it seems to us that things are going at a decent pace, we think the economy is starting to pick up a bit," Hatzius said in a "Squawk on the Street" interview. "We still feel quite comfortable with the idea that 2014 is going to be significantly stronger than 2013."
At the upcoming Fed meeting, Hatzius said that his expectation is that the central bank will begin a program of tapering its asset purchases, but "they will lean pretty hard on making it a dovish taper."
9:34 a.m. ET
"I think this is another solid and steady jobs report," U.S. Labor Secretary Tom Perez said in a "Squawk on the Street" interview. "It's very consistent with the trends we've been seeing for some time."
On downward revisions in June and July, Perez said that the bulk of the revisions have been government jobs, while the private sector is fueling the economic recovery.
"The frustration is that we know how to pick up the pace, hopefully we can get that consensus in Congress so we can move forward." He added that one "big and bold" move by the federal government for economic growth would be passing immigration reform.
On the U5 and U6 unemployment numbers, Perez said that these indicators of labor force participation are "moving in the right direction" when looked at over a two-year time horizon.
9:00 a.m. ET
When asked whether the market will fully accept this number or bank on future revisions, CNBC's Jim Cramer said "This is it. This number is not looked through. People will trade off this number and there is nothing spectacular... it does make it so the taper is going to be light. We will see mortgage rates down, they're going to be down next week, and we haven't seen that in a while."
"I recognize that this job growth is very bad," he added on "Squawk on the Street" Friday. "This is remarkable because this is a very important component of the economy that we've lost."
8:58 a.m. ET
Cramer also told "Squawk Box" that he's a "stock guy, this is perfect for stocks. Anybody who tries to out-think it go to another gig. Trade bonds, trade the futures. That's terrific, I love it. But that's not what people at home do."
Here's what Cramer tweeted right after the jobs number was released.
8:55 a.m. ET
More from Chicago Fed President Charles Evans:
- Jobs number a "useful bit of information"
- Continued challenges from falling labor participation rate
- Housing will continue to help the economy going forward
- Some exuberance has left the market
- Expects market rates to be calmer going forward
8:50 a.m. ET
Immediately following the release of the jobs report, "Squawk" experts Zandi of Moody's Analytics, Morgan Stanley's Reinhart, and AEI's Hassett all basically agreed the weaker numbers do not change the Fed's mind about starting its asset purchases taper last this month. But as CNBC's Becky Quick pointed out: the bond market may be telling a different story based on trading on the news.
8:40 a.m. ET
The 10-year Treasury yield traded at 2.87 percent as of this posting on Friday, after the weaker-than-expected August jobs report. The 10-year yield was trading at 2.96 percent before the employment numbers were released. (See where the bond market is trading now.)
8:33 a.m. ET
Dig into the jobs numbers: A more encompassing rate that counts the underemployed and those who have quit working also fell, dropping to 13.7 percent.
(Read More: Jobs growth misseshigh hopes; rate drops to 7.3%)
8:30 a.m. ET
8:27 a.m. ET
Three minutes before the report, CNBC's Rick Santelli predicts job growth of 178,000 in August. CNBC's Steve Liesman said he's in "the 180,000 range."
"We're at 190,000. The whisper rumor ... kicks that up to 200,000," Morgan Stanley economist Vincent Reinhart said.
Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Analytics, said he's at 180,000—explaining that "the August data is particularly squirrely. It's a month when businesses don't respond as quickly to the survey."
"Remember back August 2011 ... the print, it was acutally zero," Zandi added.
"Definitely, above 175,000 ... I think 190,000 is definitely in the cards," said Christian Weller of the Center for American Progress and the University of Masssachusetts professor of public policy.
8:15 a.m. ET
Asked whether the Fed could taper bond purchases just $5 billion-a-month, American Enterprise Institute economist Kevin Hassett joked that would be too little. "We need to do enough that we're not mocked."
8:06 a.m. ET
Reacting to the Evans news, the economists on the "Squawk Box" set interpreted that to mean September taper.
8:05 a.m. ET
Breaking news from Reuters:
The U.S. Federal Reserve can begin winding down its bond-buying stimulus plan later this year as the economy improves, but will likely need to keep official interest rates near zero for another two years, Chicago Fed President Charles Evans said on Friday.
While he did not specify an exact month for the start of a reduction in the Fed's purchases of mortgage-backed securities and Treasury bonds, his timeline appeared to make Evans reticent about making such a move at the central bank's next policy meeting in September, as most investors now expect.
7:58 a.m. ET
Final thoughts from Dennis Gartman, The Gartman Letter founder and publisher: "If there were not a nonfarm payrolls number coming out today [Friday], given the way the bond market is trading, I'd be selling more of it today. But the fact is I'm frightened."
He added, "I trade for my own account. I am short right now the very long bond. I'm long the 10-year because that's the bear market spread. It's been working. The market has been telling me that's the right thing to do."
"If we get a small number closer to 165,000 and the bond market rallies," Gartman continued while on the "Squawk Box" set, "I'll be standing right here trying to sell a few bond futures into that strength."
7:45 a.m. ET
This quote in this Wall Street Journal article sums things up pretty well:
"This is likely to be one of the most scrutinized reports ever," said Douglas Handler, chief U.S. economist at IHS Global Insight. "The devil's going to be in the details."
7:40 a.m. ET
In the lead-up to the jobs report, Vincent Reinhart, managing director and chief U.S. economist at Morgan Stanley, told "Squawk Box" that people always get "ahead of themselves," expecting Federal Reserve action sooner and by more than actually will be delivered.
But Reinhart does believe the Fed taper will begin in September because the central bank has "already paid the price" of acclimating market participants. "They've been tone deaf to the data for four months, so they can keep the wind-down narrow so they could actually start in September," he added.
7:18 a.m. ET
Ahead of the big jobs report, the 10-year Treasury yield was below 3 percent as of this posting Friday, after eclipsing that key psychological level Thursday for the first time since the summer of 2011.
(Read More: Stand back Fed! Let bond yields rise: Pro)
7:16 a.m. ET
"If you can get a 120,000 to 130,000 number does that mean [Fed] taper is cooked in for September? It may be. And if so, how much and what does it mean for the 10-year [Treasury]?" Kevin Giddis, president of fixed income capital markets at Raymond James, asked in a "Squawk Box" interview.
"My year-end forecast was pushing 3 percent, so it's way ahead of where I thought. But I'm just not sure it's worth as much as the market is giving it."
Giddis added, "Anything north of 200,000, sure put it [the taper] in, maybe make it $25 billion [a month]. But I'm not sure the economy is so strong at this point."
7:03 a.m. ET
One of our viewers tweeted his prediction for the jobs number:
6:50 a.m. ET
Beth Ann Bovino, chief U.S. economist at Standard & Poor's, said, "I do think jobs are coming in. However, I don't expect it to happen so soon. I'm looking for 165,000."
Anthony Chan, chief economist at Chase Private Client, told CNBC he's more optimistic. "I'm looking for 190,000. There's a lot of things out there that are suggesting a strong number."
Chan said he believes the Fed will taper this month to the tune of "$10 billion to $15 billion," unless the employment report comes with job growth under 100,000.
6:25 a.m., Friday
"There's a lot riding on this." That's how investor Dennis Gartman described the importance of Friday's jobs report.
The Gartman Letter founder and publisher told CNBC's "Squawk Box" nonfarm payrolls under 200,000 would signal that the Fed would wait to taper. "I'll think they'll sigh and say, 'Isn't the interesting, we'll wait,' " he said. "[But] if it's 200,000 or above, [it's] a whole different story."
But in his heart-of-hearts, Gartman said, "Will it be September? I doubt it. I really don't think they're going to do it this time."
6:54 p.m. ET, Thursday
CNBC market guru Patti Domm put out a great preview of what the employment report could mean for Fed tapering. Here's the key takeaway:
"Wall Street is braced for the Federal Reserve to start tapering back its bond-buying program in September, if job growth in August is anything like it was in July."
Job growth in July was 162,000.