NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- The picture is improving for unemployed job seekers.
In February, hiring picked up and the ratio of unemployed seekers to available jobs improved to reach the lowest level since the end of 2008, according to the latest government readings released Wednesday.
The Labor Department reported that there were 3.1 million job openings in February, up 352,000 from January and 570,000 from year-earlier levels. It was the largest number of available positions since September 2008.
"Today's report was broadly positive and reflects continued improvement in the labor market," wrote Theresa Chen, an economist with Barclays Capital, in a note Wednesday. "We are particularly encouraged by the persistent rise in the job openings rate."
With fewer people unemployed in recent months, there are only 4.4 unemployed job seekers for every opening, an improvement from the ratio of 5.1 jobless for every opening in January.
That ratio, which was an average of two jobless for every open position in the seven years before the start of the recession, reached a high of 6.9 jobless for every opening in July 2009.
The report also showed that the number of new hires by employers in February rose to 3.9 million, up 138,000 from January. Those laid-off or fired was little changed, with 1.6 million dismissals in February, up 50,000 from the January reading, which was a record low since the data started being collected in late 2000.
The number of people quitting their jobs also rose, a good sign for labor market because people typically are more willing to leave their jobs when they have found better positions or have confidence in the job market. There were 1.9 million workers who quit their jobs in February, up 254,000 from January and the highest level of those quitting in two years.
Corporate inversions are on the rise. A U.S. company can greatly lower its tax bill by merging with a foreign firm and legally moving its headquarters abroad. Lawmakers from both parties are unhappy with the trend and want to change the rules. In the meantime, some are saying the move is unpatriotic. More
Apple is facing a class-action lawsuit from employees who say they were denied meal breaks and rest periods. More
As 65,000 IDF reservists are tapped to serve in Gaza, Israeli's tech community tries to maintain business as usual, amidst bombs, sirens and employees called to war. More