There were 204,000 nonfarm payrolls added in October, and 60,000 additional jobs in August and September. "We're looking for more of the same [in November]. A number probably just a little under 200,000," said J.P. Morgan chief U.S. economist Michael Feroli. As for the Fed, "it will be a close call. I think it could probably depend on some other things, like durables and retail sales."
Traders expect the market to be volatile around that jobs number, since that is when they will seriously be gauging the Fed's next move.
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"It would be a surprise if all of sudden you do get a strong jobs number, and the Fed surprisingly decides, 'we're going to do a token tapering' and maybe the market would be just caught flat-footed," said Mark Luschini, chief market strategist at Janney Montgomery. "Those who say that any tapering is factored in to the market, I don't necessarily agree with."
Stock traders are also keeping an eye on yields, with the 10-year one of their most closely watched metrics. It was yielding 2.74 percent Wednesday. Treasury yields would be expected to move higher if the jobs report is better than expected.
"I think the larger story is not whether or not there will be a negative reaction to a shift in Fed position because the answer is yes. That is a given but it doesn't matter. What matters is whether it shifts the ultimate path of equities," Greenhaus said. A higher 10-year yield is not a problem for stocks, until it gets to about 3.5 percent, Greenhaus added.
November's retail sales data, due on Dec. 12, will also be important as it will be watched by the Fed and it's also a key to the strength of the holiday shopping season. The National Retail Federation expects November and December holiday sales gains of 3.9 percent. "It'll be telling as to whether the consumer and this deleveraging process…is going to lead to sustained or improved spending prospects," Luschini said.
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While the market paid little heed to Washington's budget battling in October, Luschini said there is a slight risk it could unsettle markets in the next go round.
Congress is due to return by Dec. 9, and their willingness to cooperate could be important. "That could be telling," he said. "Are we going to see the prospects of a replay of what we had just two months ago?"
Luschini and others say the market is ready for a pullback but the seasonal tide could push it higher in December regardless. The Dow and Russell are at all-time highs, the S&P 500 is close to its recent high, while Nasdaq reached a fresh 13-year high.
"That (seasonality) is tempered by the fact that the market is flirting with all-time highs," he said, adding that the market could continue to rise unless the Fed or Congress deliver a surprise.
—By CNBC's Patti Domm. Follow her on Twitter @pattidomm.