The principal economist with the state's Economic Analysis Division says there is hope for increasing oil and natural gas prices, which are critical to the state's economy.

Jim Robinson says natural gas prices showed the first increase in average monthly prices in May since November of 2014. He says the average monthly price for natural gas at the Opal hub in May averaged $2.64 per thousand cubic feet (mcf), compared to an April average of $2.32 per mcf, an increase of 13.8 percent.

The price of West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil also increased between April and May from an average of $54.44 per barrel. to $59.41 per barrel. That's still down by about 42 percent compared to May of 2014, however.

Robinson says that while the price increases for oil and natural gas in  May probably aren't by themselves enough to give those industries a major push, they are still trending in the right direction.

He also says they provide hope that the oil and gas industries have hit their low points and won't see any more big decreases in the near future. He's instead hoping for gradual price increases over the coming weeks.