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What Must You Know About Friday’s Jobs Number?

It's the number every trader's waiting for. What is the jobs report going to tell us Friday?

According to Reuters, the median forecast for non-farm payrolls is for a drop of 50,000 in February after falling 20,000 in January.

However the forecasts are wide ranging; from a gain of 10,000 to a loss of 150,000 jobs.

The median forecast from the ten most accurate forecasters is for payrolls to fall by 70,000.

Word on the Street


As Fast Money first told you in an exclusive interview with Obama advisor Larry Summers, severe snowstorms that blanketed parts of the country could wreak havoc on the data. 

For the sake of comparasion, a similar snowstorm in January 1996 reduced payrolls between 100,000 and 150,000.

Although salaried workers who were snowed in would still be counted as employed, their nonsalaried counterparts would not.


But even if bad weather drags down the jobs number, most analysts don't expect a sell-off. By and large, they say, it's priced in and they expect support in the S&P 500 around 1,100 and at 10,000 for the Dow Jones, according to Reuters.

"I also think the market has priced in a not-so-good number," adds Tim Seymour. "I think we can get away with a weak number."

A surprise rise in payrolls would undercut the safe-haven appeal of U.S. Treasuries, which could push benchmark 10-year Treasury note yields up to the recent high of 3.83 percent reached in mid-February.

The U.S. dollar stands to benefit from a weak or strong employment report. A weaker-than-expected reading will boost the dollar's safe-haven allure as risk appetite declines. A strong report could start to price in a withdrawal of some of the extraordinary support the Fed has given to the economy and an eventual interest rate hike.

*Want more insights? Check out what CNBC's Steve Liesman has to say. Watch the video above!

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