Updated from 6:23 p.m. ET for latest after-hours share prices and additional commentary on the September jobs report. NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The September jobs report is shaping up to be a very tough call. According to Briefing.com, the consensus is looking for an increase in nonfarm payrolls of 120,000 last month with the unemployment rate remaining stuck at 8.1%. That would be a nice jump from job creation of 96,000 in August and this week's data -- the ADP employment change report and weekly initial claims -- seemed to bode well for the government release. Deutsche Bank, however, was keeping its expectations in check, noting some holes in the data while leaving its estimate for payrolls to swell by 110,000 intact. "While the headline readings in both ISM surveys rose, the employment sub-index of the non-manufacturing ISM declined (by 2.7 points); similarly, ADP employment was softer in September relative to August," the firm said. "With the overall tone of the key labor indicators similar to that of August, it appears that the September report will present 'more of the same' in terms of modest-but-positive payroll gains and a stagnant unemployment rate." There was also some disturbing data on small business hiring from the National Federation of Independent Business on Thursday. The association released some of the results of its September survey, which is based on the responses of nearly 700 sampled members, saying the net percent of small business owners who increased their total number of employees during the month fell 5 percentage points to a net negative 3%. The NFIB also said just 17% of small business owners have current job openings, which is down a point form August. "In a healthy economy, that number would typically be in the high 20's," said Holly Wade, senior policy analyst for the NFIB Research Foundation. A quick sample of available estimates for the rise in nonfarm payrolls last month shows a real divergence in expectations. At the high end, there's Briefing.com's own forecast of 165,000, which seems pretty ambitious. Jim O'Sullivan, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics, also sees a surprise to the upside. "Our payrolls forecast for today is 135K, a bit stronger than the 100K benchmark and the 115K consensus, but not nearly enough to satisfy Fed officials," said O'Sullivan, who noted the last few monthly reports have been a mixed bag. "Even if the gain is much larger than 135K, the volatility in the report will caution against extrapolating."
Capital Economics is at the lower end with its model projecting the addition of just 100,000 jobs in September, a figure suggesting the month was basically status quo with August. The political implications of Friday's report are also significant for investors as a blowout better than expected number would be a big positive for President Barack Obama and go a long way toward slowing the momentum that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has built up with his strong performance in Wednesday night's debate. That could knock the big banks -- Bank of America ( BAC), Citigroup ( C), JPMorgan ( JPM) et al -- right back down after they enjoyed a strong Romney-inspired rally on Thursday. The September payrolls number is slated to hit the wires at 8:30 a.m. ET, and it could very well determine whether the major U.S. equity averages are able to hold this week's smart gains through the weekend. As for Friday's other scheduled news, Constellation Brands ( STZ) is the only quarterly report of note. The Victor, N.Y.-based alcohol seller is set to disclose its fiscal second-quarter results and the average estimate of analysts polled by Thomson Reuters is for earnings of 54 cents a share in the August-ended period on revenue of $710.1 million. There's also the consumer credit data for August due at 3 p.m. ET with economists expecting an expansion of $5 billion vs. last month's $3.3 billion contraction, according to Briefing.com. And finally, Zynga ( ZNGA) will be a big mover to the downside on Friday after the social gaming company forecast a loss for the third quarter and lowered its full-year outlook. The stock was last quoted at $2.27, down 19.4%, on extended volume of 4.6 million. Calling the quarter "challenging," Zynga said it expects a loss of 12 to 14 cents a share for the September-ended quarter with its non-GAAP per share performance seen as either breakeven or a loss of a penny per share. Revenue is projected in a range of $300 million to $305 million. Wall Street's current consensus view is for a breakeven performance. For the year, the company dropped its expectations to bookings of $1.085 billion to $1.100 billion from a prior view of $1.150 billion to $1.225 billion. It now sees adjusted EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) of $147 million to $165 million vs. a previous projection of $180 million to $250 million.
"The change in outlook is primarily due to reduced expectations for certain web games including The Ville, and delays in launching several new games," Zynga said in its statement. The news was also weighing on Facebook ( FB), which failed to make much hay with its announcement that it surpassed one billion monthly users . The stock added just 12 cents in the regular session to close at $21.95, but the lower outlook from partner Zynga, which has a revenue-sharing deal with Facebook, sent shares down 1.6% to $21.60 on volume of nearly 800,000. -- Written by Michael Baron in New York. >To contact the writer of this article, click here: Michael Baron.