Even with spotty economic data, the unofficial odds are rising that the Fed will announce plans at its December meeting to taper its bond-buying program.
But a number of Fed watchers still believe it's more likely the Fed will take action to cut the $85 billion a month in asset purchases in January or March. Bond yields have been rising on the possibility, and stocks have floundered this week.
Wednesday's stronger-than-expected ADP report showed that private sector hiring rose in November at the highest rate in a year. That, in turn, gave rise to speculation that the government jobs report on Friday will also be better than expected. ADP said 215,000 new jobs had been added to private sector payrolls, well above the 170,000 expected.
Economists look for 180,000 nonfarm payrolls in November and an unemployment rate of 7.2 percent, according to Reuters. That compares with October's surprise gain of 204,000 jobs and bump in the unemployment rate to 7.3 percent.
"The more that strong data comes in the probability goes up [for Fed tapering], but it's unlikely it will go above 50 percent" for December, said Pimco strategist Tony Crescenzi. "The Fed has not paved the way yet. It hasn't prepared markets, so it will probably take a bit more time. Stronger data rolling in are fresh, and the Fed doesn't react to short-term spates of data. It reacts to cumulative data. It doesn't alter the chances for December, but it does keep in place January and February, and reinforces the probability that have been assigned to those months."