NEW YORK -- J-O-B-S! Jobs! Jobs! Jobs! It's the new chantreverberating louder and louder across job-hungry America. PresidentObama wants more jobs. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romneywants more jobs. So does Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, as donumber-crunching economists. But no one wants a job more than the 12.5million Americans who don't have one.

Investors are bracing forthe latest installment of what Wall Street refers to as "Jobs Friday."Before the stock market opens for trading Friday, the government willreport how many jobs were created in September and whether the 8.1%unemployment rate went up or down. Analysts are expecting job creationin the neighborhood of 125,000, and the jobless rate to tick up to 8.2%.

Jobsmatter. For a lot of reasons, says Ron Florance, managing director ofinvestment strategy at Wells Fargo Private Bank. The latest snapshot ofthe U.S. employment picture, he says, could affect the presidentialrace. A strong number will boost Obama. A big downside miss will liftRomney.

A bad number, Florance adds, could serve as a wake-up callto Congress and "spark them to action sooner rather than later" whendealing with the nation's impending fiscal crisis. As for stocks, don'texpect drastic movement regardless of the actual number of jobs created,because it will fall shy of the amount needed to cut the unemploymentrate. "We need 250,000 new jobs and that's not going to happen Friday,"he says.