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The jobs number minimum for a Fed hike: Pimco exec

With the absence of data coming out of China during its public holiday, all eyes will be fixed on Friday's all-important U.S. jobs report for the latest indication on which direction volatile markets could turn next.

Whether that direction has been up or down as of late has been largely determined by whatever signal traders have gleaned from clues given by the Federal Reserve over when it might choose to raise interest rates.

But come Friday, the jobs number could put the central bank's cards on the table, according to Tony Crescenzi, executive vice at Pimco, who believes a strong number could all but mean a September hike.

How strong is strong?

"In reality, anything above 100,000—since the labor force has grown only 70,000 persons per month the last three years—is strong enough to bring the jobless rate down," he told CNBC's "Closing Bell" in an interview. "The Fed in the future will be happy with something under 200,000 but right now it won't be, it wants to see something around 200,000, call it even 175,000, to make it possible to make a decision on interest rates."

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If that's the case, a September rate hike looks more and more likely, considering analysts polled by Thomson Reuters forecast a slight increase in nonfarm payrolls to 220,000 for the month of August. However, there is a key characteristic about jobs reports in that month that could make reaching that hurdle less of a guarantee.

Tony Crescenzi
Adam Jeffery | CNBC
Tony Crescenzi

"August reports have been clunkers in that 11 of the past 12 years the report has come in weaker-than-consensus forecast after the first go around," Crescenzi said, adding that the following revisions are generally the largest of the year. But those revisions of course wouldn't come in time to affect a Sept. 17 FOMC meeting.

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Crescenzi added the caveat that continuing market volatility up until the September meeting could cause a delay to Pimco's base case of a December hike.