John Soung, Gabriel Fitzgerald, Todd ZedicherThe Labor Department reported Friday morning that the U.S. added 288,000 jobs in April, sending the unemployment rate to its lowest point since September 2008, 6.3 percent. While some of the drop from March’s 6.7 percent unemployment rate was due to 300,000 long-term unemployed workers — those searching for a job for more than six months — giving up the hunt for a job, economists still cheered the labor market’s ability to bounce back after weak growth late in 2013.

Friday’s jobs report “lends significant legitimacy to the positive tone in the wide array of post-February economic reports, which have all been consistently pointing to a significant pickup in economic growth momentum this quarter,” Millan Mulraine, deputy chief economist at TD Securities, told Reuters.

The dire slowdown during the cold winter months was displayed by the federal government’s reading of gross domestic product in the first quarter, which came in at 0.1 percent in a report released earlier this week, much lower than the expected 1.1 percent and down sharply from 2.6 percent growth in the final quarter of 2013. With the first month of the second quarter showing such strong growth, the growth that disappeared in the first quarter could be roaring across the United States with more to come.

By Jeremy Owens at