Wagga's bleak jobs figures are showing their first signs of recovery, according to data released on Thursday.
Across the Riverina an additional 3500 workers were back on the payroll by the end of May, breaking a three month streak of job losses.
The unemployment rate hovers at around 4.6 per cent, which compares favourably to the rest of NSW where it averages out to 6.2 per cent - even higher when factoring in underemployment and JobKeeper.
The "participation rate" fell across the state as more people gave up looking for work, however the Riverina is actually bucking the trend as more people actively join the labour force.
In Wagga it was the accommodation and hospitality sectors which were the hardest hit by lockdown, but with restrictions easing scores of workers are returning to business as usual.
One of them is barista and drama teacher Saasha McMillan, who got both of her jobs back at once when the Oddball Theatre and Rabbit Books cafe reopened.
"It's so much better than being stuck at home doing nothing," Ms McMillan said.
"Things are a little bit back to normal."
Her colleague Jemima Ngoma spent her time in isolation studying for the HSC, but she's since returned to work and school and is now busier than ever.
"It feels really good to be back," Ms Ngoma said.
"I love seeing people and interacting with people."
Rabbit Books owner Vickie Burkinshaw said she was glad to see Wagga's art scene coming back to life, with the shop holding its first life drawing class on Friday to a packed house.
"It was really nice to be able to employ a life model and our art teacher and to have people feeling they can tap back into their creativity," Ms Burkinshaw said.
"There is so much talent in Wagga."
Divine Wellbeing Yoga instructor Danny Freemantle said he was relieved to be back in a job, but said it would take a long time to recoup the $45,000 in lost turnover he suffered during lockdown.
"I was in survival mode," Mr Freemantle said.
"I went to zero income overnight and the bills were still coming in."
He was forced to close down his centre, but he has since moved to a new location on Coleman Street and has managed to get his instructors back in a job.
Mr Freemantle is bracing himself for a long and uncertain road to recovery ahead, but he says he counts himself lucky to be in a job and surrounded by friends.
"I'm grateful the yoga members have been patient and supportive," Mr Freemantle said.
"It's really good to see old faces back."