BOZEMAN, Mont. -

Despite a slight decrease in unemployment statewide, Bozeman has seen a bump in open employment. There are many Now Hiring signs popping up around town.

NBC Montana spoke with a local business owner who is hiring at his restaurant.

Jeff Riggs says, as the school year approaches, he'll be hiring at Clark's Fork Restaurant.

"This time of the year, we're always hiring, pretty much for all of our positions, based on we have a lot of people who go to school, so those are full-time folks," said Riggs.

Riggs says that even though the sign has only been out for a couple of days, he expects to get a pretty fast response for the open position.

Barbara Wagner with the Montana Department of Labor and Industry says Montana's unemployment rate is dropping thanks to more available jobs.

In July, unemployment was 4.6 percent, which is up slightly from the previous month, but down about 0.7 percent since January.

"The reason why Montana's unemployment rate increased this month is because the labor force expanded, and that's a good time because that means that there are more workers who have become more optimistic about the economy and have rejoined the labor market," said Wagner.

Although rates are up, local businesses and officials are hopeful for the future of employment in Bozeman and say that they are in a better place from a couple years ago.

"I think that hiring in Bozeman is tighter, like I said, it's a lot of, has a lot to do with the economy and things getting better in town," said Riggs.

"Both Montana and the Bozeman area have more jobs than we had ever before, and more jobs that we had than we've had during before the recession," said Wagner.

Labor Commissioner Pam Bucy says strong job creation and more Montanans returning to the workforce shows increasing optimism about the state's economy.