There’s some optimism in the city’s economic development department as 2016 comes to a close.

Drilling licenses for oil and gas wells have gone up dramatically in the last three months. They make up for half of what’s happened over the entire year, and completions were up 122 per cent last month. Year-to-date drilling licenses are still 26 per cent below 2015.

City staff are also excited by a noticeable increase in traffic. They say more than 1,300 permits for over-sized vehicles were issued last month. That’s up from 300 in November 2015 and 704 the year before.

Those numbers, along with a decreasing unemployment rate and more companies advertising job openings is giving city hall hope the worst of the downturn is behind Grande Prairie. They’re hampered only by home sales and construction, which are both down in 2016.