Alabama's unemployment rate dipped slightly in May, but it was higher than the same month a year ago.
Gov. Robert Bentley reported Friday that Alabama measured 6.8 percent unemployment. That's down from 6.9 percent in April, but it is above the 6.4 percent recorded in May 2013.
The seasonally adjusted statistics show there were slightly more than 147,000 Alabamians looking for work in May. That's down about 160 people from the previous months, but it's about 8,600 more than a year ago.
The state Department of Labor says Alabama's March unemployment rate is 6.7 percent, which is three-tenths of a percent higher than the February rate. It's also above the March 2013 rate of 6.6 percent.
The job rate represents 144,628 unemployed people. But the number of people in the labor force also grew by more than 14,000 people, and the number of working Alabamians increased by 7,000.
The state labor commissioner, Tom Surtees, says the unemployment rate is up because of the growth in the labor force.
Alabama had the second lowest unemployment rate in the Southeast in July.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that Virginia's rate of 5.7 percent was lower than Alabama's rate of 6.3 percent. The bureau also reports that Alabama had one of the nation's biggest drops in unemployment from a year ago, when Alabama's rate measured 7.6 percent. Only seven states exceeded Alabama's drop of 1.3 percentage points over the last year.