Can you feel it?

It’s December jobs report time on Friday, with expectations all looking pretty positive for the labor market’s performance at the end of last year.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics is expected to report somewhere in the neighborhood of an additional 230,000 — with around 8,000 job losses across the federal government — and an unemployment rate hanging in around 7 percent.

But, Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics, said there are some indications that the unemployment rate could drop below 7 percent.

We’ll see how well those economic indicators are doing in pointing forecasts in the right direction.

If the employment reports comes in around forecast or better, that should be a strong signal that the economy may finally, after many fits and starts, be accelerating.

In turn, that could further boost stock markets, which have largely been watching the Federal Reserve for its opinion on the economic recovery. That could lead to a solid boost in jobs down the road that could alleviate some of the persistent long-term unemployment that has been experienced since the financial crisis in 2008.

Even if the jobless rate didn’t drop last month, Zandi expects to see “meaningful declines in 2014.”

A separate report earlier this week showed that private-sector employers added 238,000 jobs in December, boosted by gains in construction and manufacturing.

It also appeared that businesses grew more confident and increased their hiring through the end of last year, which is a big positive going forward.

Leading the way, small businesses — those firms with up to 50 employers — hired 108,000 of the total.

Economic growth picked up pace as well, and could finish out the final three months of the year at around 4 percent, further fueling the labor market recovery.

With growth at that pace, the labor market could start producing at least 225,000 a month, on average, through most of this year.

Overall, Zandi expects the jobless rate to decline at a faster pace in 2014 with a drop to 6.5 by year’s end. The declines will continue down to 6 percent by the end of 2015 and the economy will return to full employment, about 5.5 percent, at the close of 2016.

Let’s see if December can point the economy, finally, in the right direction this year.

Special Note:

The Commerce Department will release its November wholesale trade report that includes sales and inventory statistics from the second stage of the manufacturing process. The sales figures say close to nothing about personal consumption and therefore do not move the market.

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