Even as unemployment rates have inched towards pre-recession levels, recovery skeptics have pointed to the high number of people who have given up looking for a job and are, as a result, left out of official employment numbers.
Now, there’s some evidence to show even that trend is reversing, Reuters reports.
The share of people who have a job or are looking for one rose in a majority of U.S. states in the six months leading up to April of this year, according to a Reuters analysis of government data, marking the first upswing in those numbers in six years.
The rising participation rate likely means that people who had given up on looking are now confident enough to re-enter the job market, an encouraging sign for the economic recovery.
The data is not conclusive, according to Reuters. But participation rates appeared to have risen in a diverse set of states, including Texas, Florida and West Virginia. The 32 states where the figures rose also represent a majority of the U.S. population.