The U.S. added 850,000 jobs in June and the jobless rate was 5.9%, the Labor Department said Friday, as the labor market heated up after a spring lull.

Job growth fell short of expectations earlier this spring, despite a high level of job openings. Recent weeks may have brought a shift toward stronger job growth.

More workers have received a Covid-19 vaccine; enhanced jobless benefits in many states have ended or will by early September; rules limiting capacity at businesses during the pandemic have eased or expired; and companies have been raising wages and offering signing bonuses to lure workers back. In one healthy sign, the number of workers applying for unemployment benefits—a proxy for layoffs—fell last week by 51,000 to 364,000, a pandemic low, the Labor Department said Thursday.

While the labor market has significantly recovered since the depths of the pandemic, it remained more than seven million jobs short of where it stood just ahead of the pandemic. The unemployment rate in February 2020 was 3.5%. But it has fallen from the April 2020 level of 14.8%, a post-World War II high.... Read More: WSJ