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Jobs Report, Unemployment Rate, Hourly Earnings: 3 Things to Watch

By Liz Moyer

Investing.com -- Stocks staged a late afternoon rally after starting September out on a wobbly note as investors continue to worry about interest rate hikes.

Investors are eagerly awaiting Friday's jobs report for August. Economists expect the economy added 300,000 positions last month, down from July's number but still a solid gain amid a tight labor market.

The Federal Reserve has been watching data on jobs and inflation closely as it decides how far to take rates higher while it tries to tame inflation. The expectation has risen in recent days that the Fed will raise rates another 0.75-percentage-point, as it has in the last two meetings, and not slow the pace. It meets toward the end of this month.

Still, the S&P's rally means it breaks a four-day losing streak. Rising rates have dinged growth stocks.

September is typically the worst month of the year for stocks. Friday's report comes just as everyone heads out for a three-day U.S. market holiday weekend, with plenty of time to think about where equities are headed when they return.

Here are three things that could affect markets tomorrow:

1. Jobs for August

The government's nonfarm payroll report comes out at 8:30 ET (12:30 GMT). Analysts are expecting 300,000, down from 528,000 created in a surprisingly strong July report.

2. Unemployment rate

The unemployment rate is expected to be 3.5%, the same as the prior month, amid a tight labor market. Earlier this week, the job openings report showed an unexpectedly high 11 million openings.

3. Average earnings

Average hourly earnings are rising, a sign employers have had to offer more money to fill empty positions. Analysts expect it to be up 5.3% from the same month last year compared with 5.2% in July.

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