The U.S. jobs market signals signs of improving according to new Labor Department figures that show jobless claims fell to 348,000 last week, the lowest levels since February 2008, Bloomberg News reports. The number of people collecting unemployment and extended benefits also declined. From the Bloomberg article:

Dismissals have been waning and reports show companies are becoming more willing to expand workforces amid evidence sales are improving. Employment growth will help spur consumer spending, which accounts for about 70 percent of the economy.

“This is consistent with gradual improvement in labor market conditions,” said Brian Jones, a senior U.S. economist at Societe Generale in New York, who correctly projected the level of claims. “It’s good for consumer spending.”