Yellen Cites Economic Gains as Dec. Rate Hike Seems Likely

WASHINGTON (AP) -
The Federal Reserve building in Washington, D.C.
The Federal Reserve building in Washington, D.C.

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen is sketching a picture of a U.S. economy that’s still not at full health but is showing enough gains in hiring and growth to raise expectations of a Fed interest rate hike in December.

In prepared testimony to a congressional committee, Yellen says the Fed at its meeting this month thought the case for boosting its benchmark rate had strengthened and that a rate hike “could well become appropriate relatively soon.”

Yellen notes that the job market has continued to show improvement this year and that inflation, though still below the Fed’s 2-percent target, has started to pick up. Most investors and economists expect the Fed to boost rates at its next meeting in mid-December, and Yellen’s prepared testimony notes that there are risks of further delaying a rate increase.