RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - There's new hope tonight for an economic recovery. Numbers released by the state today show a slight drop in unemployment. And economists say there are two other encouraging signs.
Last month, Ivy Thompson opened up her dream business in the Fan - a custom invitation shop called Jessica Ivy.
"It's been steady. I get a few orders every day. I have a lot of people who come in," said Ivy Thompson.
If everything goes well, Ivy hopes to expand.
"In the next year I would love to have a lot more business. I would love to have a few people working with me," said Ivy.
According to economists, it's people like Ivy who will help turn the economy around. Last month's numbers show an increase in self-employment - something that played a key role in ending the recession in the early '90's.
"As business improved with the recovery, they began to hire people and that was sort of the cornerstone of the recovery, and that's what will probably happen this time," said VEC Chief Economist William Mezger.
Unemployment is already starting to level off and today, the Virginia Employment Commission announced it will be opening additional employment centers throughout the state to help connect workers with jobs.
The numbers also show an increase in the number of hours worked in manufacturing. Mezger says that represents more orders coming into the factories.
"What they will do first to get out the extra production is to work their existing people more hours, then as time goes on and as they become more confident, then they will start to hire people again," Mezger said.
That's exactly what Ivy hopes to do when her business picks up. Her entrepreneurial spirit may be just what this economy needs.
"I think I have the drive, the ambition, knowledge and creativity to make a business successful," Ivy said.