U.S. stock index futures pointed to a higher open on Wall Street on Friday, ahead of eagerly-awaited monthly U.S. jobs data and unemployment rate.

At 5:29 a.m. EDT, futures for the S&P 500 were up 0.44 percent, Dow Jones futures were up 0.41 percent and Nasdaq 100 futures were up 0.34 percent.

Investors were bracing for monthly U.S. payrolls figures and unemployment rate, due at 8:30 a.m. EDT, for further clues on the health of the U.S. economy.

U.S. employers are expected to have eliminated 225,000 jobs last month, according to the median forecast of 81 economists polled by Reuters, down from 247,000 in July, while the unemployment rate is forecast to have inched up to 9.5 percent from 9.4 percent.

Dallas Federal Reserve Bank President Richard Fisher on Thursday said the United States should have a good snap-back from recession in the final months of 2009, but that future growth could be a slow crawl.

You could have a stout third-quarter (GDP) number, Fisher told reporters after a speech at the University of California in Santa Barbara.

IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn said on Friday the global economy is emerging from a deep downturn, but the recovery will be sluggish and unwinding stimulus measures too soon could derail an upswing. Speaking at a Bundesbank conference in Berlin, Strauss-Kahn expressed concern about the risks of a rise in unemployment, which he said could lead to a decline in potential growth and social consequences which were even more worrisome.

Oil ticked up above $68 a barrel in relatively thin dealing, while gold hovered a hair below $1,000 an ounce on Friday, consolidating the biggest two-day gain since March after a mix of inflation anxiety, a retreat from risk assets and a technical break stoked renewed investor interest.

European stocks <.FTEU3> were up 1 percent in morning trade, halting a four-day losing run, led by banking and mining shares such as Rio Tinto and Banco Santander .

Japan's Nikkei average <.N225> fell 0.3 percent to hit its lowest close in five weeks on Friday, with investors' reluctance to buy ahead of key U.S. jobs data outweighing short-covering on better-than-expected U.S. sales figures.

U.S. shares gained ground Thursday, halting a four-day losing streak, after stronger-than-expected retail sales data eased recent worries about the pace of the economic recovery.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> was up 63.94 points, or 0.69 percent, at 9,344.61. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> was up 8.49 points, or 0.85 percent, at 1,003.24. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> was up 16.13 points, or 0.82 percent, at 1,983.20.

(Reporting by Blaise Robinson; Editing by Mike Nesbit)