ST. PAUL (AP) - Minnesota health officials say the state's suicide rate is inching upward.

The rate rose to 12.4 per 100,000 people last year, up from 11.2 for the year-ago period. The new rate is close to the national average.

The state health department says 684 people killed themselves in the most recent period. Their data show a general upward trend apart from a short-term dip around 2009.

Health officials say the state rate is higher in men and higher in the 25-to-64 age group. And they say the suicide rate is greater outside the metropolitan area - about 14 people per 100,000 in Greater Minnesota, compared to about 11 in the seven-county metro.