July 7 (UPI) -- The U.S. economy added 220,000 jobs in June, the Labor Department said Friday, surpassing economists' expectations.
Estimates prior to the monthly job report pegged the increase at around 178,000.
The robust job growth caused a statistical anomaly. The nation's unemployment rate actually ticked up slightly to 4.4 percent from 4.3 percent due to the fact more people entered the labor market.
Economists count anyone who has sought employment in the previous three months in the figure and with more jobs available, more Americans are looking for work.
The largest gains were in the healthcare sector, which added 37,000 jobs in June, fueled by increasing demand from the nation's aging Baby Boomers. Significant gains were also posted in daycare providers, financial analysts and the mining industry.
While the job market continued to hum along, workers' wages remained a sticking point. Compared to a year ago, wages increased 2.5 percent. The average U.S. worker makes $26.25 per hour.