The hotly anticipated U.S. jobs report has the potential to tip the scales toward a third jumbo-sized hike in interest rates later this month, after a wave of data that point to a resilient consumer and high labor demand. Friday's report is one of the last marquee releases Fed officials will have in hand before the mid-September policy meeting to help them decipher a complex economic and inflationary puzzle.

Forecasts call for a healthy, yet more moderate, 298,000 gain in August payrolls and for the unemployment rate to hold steady at 3.5 percent, matching the lowest in five decades. Solid wage growth is also expected amid a persistent mismatch between labor demand and supply.

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