The U.S. economy added 136,000 jobs in September, indicating sustained — yet slowing — growth amid increasing concerns of an economic downturn.

In its monthly jobs report released Friday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) also announced that unemployment in the U.S. declined to 3.5 percent — its lowest point in 50 years. The rate fell by 0.2 percent from the month prior, bringing the number of Americans without a job to 5.8 million.

“Today’s jobs report is consistent with our outlook of a gradually slowing growth path,” said Doug Duncan, the chief economist at Fannie Mae. “However, some of the underlying details paint a mixed picture.”

The total jobs added in September missed expectations, which analysts predicted would be roughly 145,000 jobs. Average monthly employment growth so far this year is now 161,000, which remains well below 223,000 average monthly gains in 2018, the BLS reported.

The industries with the most employment gains were health care and professional and business services, adding 39,000 and 34,000 jobs respectively. Other sectors, such as mining, construction, financial activities, and manufacturing, showed negligible change last month.

Average hourly wages across the economy decreased 1 cent in September, reversing a growth trend that saw an 11 cent hike in August and a 9 cent increase in July and June. Over the past year, the BLS said, average hourly wages have grown by 2.9 percent.

The September jobs report comes on the heels of multiple disappointing indicators released in recent days that point to an economic slowdown worldwide.

The Institute for Supply Management (ISM), a non-profit trade association, reported this week that the U.S. service industry fell to its lowest point in three years and that the manufacturing sector contracted for the second straight month.

“After the very weak ISM data, there was this anticipation built up that [the jobs report] could be much more negative than what we got,” said Matthew Luzzetti, the chief U.S. economist at Deutsche Bank. “Even though it missed expectations, I don't think it was as bad as feared.”

On Tuesday, moreover, the World Trade Organization warned that enduring trade tensions and weakening economies worldwide are causing a significant decline in global commerce. The instability led the Geneva-based organization to cut its forecast for trade volume growth to just 1.2 percent in 2019, more than 50 percent lower than an earlier estimate.

Friday’s jobs report also comes ahead of a Federal Reserve meeting later this month. The U.S. central bank has already slashed rates twice in recent months to spur growth and sustain expansion.

“The report does little to clarify the divergent views on the Federal Reserve about whether the economy is slowing or not,” Duncan said. “But we continue to believe the Fed will cut rates this quarter due to trade uncertainties and weak manufacturing data.”

President Trump lauded September’s unemployment figure, saying Friday morning that it is a “tremendous number.”

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