The following commentary comes from an independent investor or market observer as part of TheStreet's guest contributor program, which is separate from the company's news coverage.

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Weekly unemployment claims fell to 348,000, the second lowest level since 2008.

Moreover claims levels consistently below 350,000 would indicate a much stronger labor market, and below 325,000 a genuinely healthy labor market.

Week-to-week, the numbers have been up and down, but in the 2012, the trend has been in the right direction.

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Taken together with January's stronger retail sales ex autos, continued progress in manufacturing output, and stronger housing starts, things appear to be getting better -- as I wrote in my note the beginning of the week.

Don't break out the champagne yet, but put a few bottles on ice. It may be a very bright spring.

Professor Peter Morici, of the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland, is a recognized expert on economic policy and international economics. Prior to joining the university, he served as director of the Office of Economics at the U.S. International Trade Commission. He is the author of 18 books and monographs and has published widely in leading public policy and business journals, including the Harvard Business Review and Foreign Policy. Morici has lectured and offered executive programs at more than 100 institutions, including Columbia University, the Harvard Business School and Oxford University. His views are frequently featured on CNN, CBS, BBC, FOX, ABC, CNBC, NPR, NPB and national broadcast networks around the world.