The monthly government employment report always garners much attention on Wall Street, but with a Federal Reserve interest-rate meeting coming next week, Friday's numbers, to be released at 830 am New York time, will be even more closely watched.
The market is split 50-50 between whether the Fed will cut rates by a quarter or a half point, according to fed funds futures trading. And a big upside surpise in payroll gains could raise some inflation fears and take a 50-basis-point cut off the table.
Some analysts say the central bank should keep its powder dry even if the jobs report is disappointing, as inflation dangers are still ahead.
"We think the Fed continues to be somewhat trigger happy, jumping to cut rates quicker than it should do," Max King, Investment Stragegist at Investec, told "Worldwide Exchange."
"We're a little nervous that it's actually jumping too soon," King added.
But others are saying the rate cuts should keep coming.