NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The Labor Department's highly-anticipated monthly jobs report, scheduled for release Friday at 8:30 a.m. EDT, will once again become the center of the economic data universe. Just don't get your hopes up when peeking at the headline figures, economists say. And after a week of tanking economic data on several fronts, a question exists whether Friday's jobs report will only extend lurking fears of a full-fledged economic pullback.

Because the government likely slashed anywhere between 225,000 to 275,000 temporary census jobs last month, the report will probably show employers broadly shed about 110,000 jobs from nonfarm payrolls in June, according to a forecast published by the Associated Press. That would mark the first negative month for jobs this year and will do absolutely nothing to combat the sinking economic sentiment percolating in the markets this week.

Meanwhile, the unemployment rate is expected to tick higher from 9.7% to 9.8%.

But all agree the key to Friday's jobs report won't be the headline numbers. Rather, market participants will instead focus keenly on the number of private sector jobs created (or not) in June. On that front, forecasters are looking for about 112,000 jobs to be added last month, The AP reported quoting a Thomson Reuters survey, after adding an underwhelming 41,000 positions in May.

"I think a market mover is getting private sector employment up over 150,000, or if it's somewhere 50,000 and below," said John Canally, economist at LPL Financial. "That being said, I think the market this week has priced in a lot of bad news on everything -- on Europe, on the U.S. economy, on risk of a double-dip. Because a lot of bad news is priced in, I think any market reaction you get to the downside might be limited a little bit. But I think a stronger number could illicit a stronger response because a lot of people are very pessimistic, very short the market.

Though he believes the market is over-discounting the risk of a double-dip, to his point, the week introduced a vast array of data points and global headlines that roiled stocks and commodities. On Tuesday, stocks collapsed under the weight of a Chinese leading indicators revision and dismal domestic consumer confidence figures.

Stocks lost further ground Wednesday after Automatic Data Processing ( ADP) offered its own frustrating assessment of the labor market, saying private sector employers added an anemic 13,000 jobs in June.

The job market continued looking strained Thursday, which weighed down investor sentiment further, after the Labor Department said new jobless claims jumped up by 13,000 last week to settle at 472,000. That, in combination with dour pending home sales data and slower factory activity, dragged the Dow down another 41 points.

And as go the economic recovery, so goes jobs. Dour markets, waning consumer psychology, fear in the small business ranks, a stumbling housing market, slowdowns in China and the eurozone, state budget cuts, legislative uncertainty, taxes -- the number of headwinds standing in the way of jobs growth and pointing to a double-dip are mounting in the view of many. But solid corporate profitability, among other factors, are still keeping many skeptics from envisioning the worst. For economists like Stuart Hoffman, chief economist at PNC Financial, a downward revision tomorrow to May's already faint private sector jobs gains will be a key signal all its own.

"The biggest disaster of all would be if they revised May to show that jobs were actually lost in the private sector and then again in June for two months in a row," said Hoffman, who described the job market as "weak and disappointing" even if more upbeat forecasts hold true. "That to me would be more than a disappointment. That would smell like a double-dip."

But among economists, data is in the eye of the beholder. Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Avalon Partners, said convincing private temporary hiring, along with strength in manufacturing, are likely to show up again in Friday's jobs report. That, along with spotty job gains in other areas, is feeding his belief that private sector employers probably added about 87,000 jobs in June, despite overall nonfarm payrolls falling by 187,000.

"Which indicates the trend is slowly improving, even though the job market is weak," said Cardillo. "There's no question the economy is slowing down, but the big fear out there is that we're heading for a double-dip recession and I certainly don't share that view. Slower growth, yes, with high levels of unemployment."

But LPL Financial's Canally added that he's seeing distortions in already released jobs data, saying "it's going to be hard to cut through the noise." And the results of tomorrow's report will undoubtedly give both bulls and bears various talking points. Thursday morning, Challenger Gray & Christmas said job cut announcements increased 1.4% from May to June. Last month, firms like Northrop Grumman ( NOC), RealNetworks ( RNWK) and Graphic Packaging ( GPK) were a few that made such news. But the report also said announced layoffs in the first half of 2010 were down 67% from a year ago, the lowest since 2000 when the unemployment rate was hovering around 4%.

"But no one is talking about that today. Everyone is talking about initial claims," Canally said. "Which one is right? Typically, layoff announcements lead claims by three or four months. That tells me that claims are not telling me the right story."

--Written by Sung Moss in New York

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