LaVorgna does not expect to see a big hit to hiring from weather, as tax receipts remain strong. "If there's a weather effect, it will show up in hours," he said, noting it did last year. He expects to see hours worked at 34.5 hours, slightly below consensus. He also expects to see a 0.3 percent increase in hourly earnings. "I wouldn't rule out a 0.4 increase. The consensus is 0.2," he said.
Other negatives for the jobs number could be the loss of energy workers, as oil drilling slowed amid the steep slump in oil prices. Oil gained in February for the first time since June, but rig count continued to fall through the month.
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"The layoffs in the energy industry are starting to gather some strength," said Moody's Analytics' chief economist, Mark Zandi. He estimates about 10,000 jobs could be lost in that industry last month.
Stanley said energy workers were never a big part of the employment gains, adding just several thousand a month, so he does not expect to see a very big impact from energy firings.
"For every job that you're losing in terms of the oil industry, you're probably gaining that many by the consumer spending more," he said.
While they may not agree on the nuts and bolts of Friday's report, economists agree that the labor market shifted into a higher gear last quarter and future hiring looks promising.
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"Over 300,000 (a month) is not something you can maintain over time. I think the underlying job growth is probably around 250,000, and that's 3 million a year, which is a good year," said Zandi. "If that rate of job growth is sustained, we'll be back to full employment in summer, 2016." That would be an unemployment rate of 5 percent and a reduction in long-term unemployment as well as the number of workers that would work full time instead of part time if jobs were available.
One missing ingredient has been wage growth, but anecdotally the trend is changing, with Wal-Mart's increase in wages for its workers considered an important signal.
Zandi said ADP data show that employees who are changing jobs are now seeing more sizeable salary increases.
"The most encouraging thing most recently has been the surge in open positions. That's a good leading indicator," Zandi said. "In the ADP data, we do get a sense of wage growth for people that are moving jobs. That seems to be accelerating in the fourth quarter. The average wage increase for a 'switcher' was almost 15 percent, and the biggest pay increases were for millennials."