MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) -- Alabama's unemployment rate has gone up for the first time since last summer.
State officials announced Friday that the rate rose from 7.2 percent in April to 7.4 percent in May.
Gov. Robert Bentley said the increase was expected because the national rate increased form 8.1 percent in April to 8.2 percent in May. He said Alabama's rate traditionally goes up in May when new high school and college graduates join the workforce.
Alabama's unemployment rate hit 10.0 percent in July 2011 and then declined for the next nine months before ticking up in May. May's figure represents more than 159,000 Alabama residents looking for work.
Shelby County had the lowest rate at 5.2 percent and Wilcox County had the highest at 16.2 percent.