• Secretary of the Treasury and Council Chairperson Jack Lew speaks during the Financial Stability Oversight Council along with Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, at the Treasury Department in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2016. (AP Photo/Molly Riley)

    Secretary of the Treasury and Council Chairperson Jack Lew speaks during the Financial Stability Oversight Council along with Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, at the Treasury Department in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2016. (AP Photo/Molly ... Riley) (The Associated Press)

  • Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Nov. 17, 2016, before the Joint Economic Committee. Yellen sketched a picture of an improving U.S. economy and said "the case for an increase" in interest rates has strengthened. The Fed is widely expected to raise rates when it meets in mid-December. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

    Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Nov. 17, 2016, before the Joint Economic Committee. Yellen sketched a picture of an improving U.S. economy and said "the case for an increase" in interest rates has ... strengthened. The Fed is widely expected to raise rates when it meets in mid-December. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh) (The Associated Press)

  • Joint Economic Committee Chairman Sen. Dan Coats, R-Ind., right, and ranking member Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., left, listen as Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, center, speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Nov. 17, 2016. Yellen sketched a picture of an improving U.S. economy and said "the case for an increase" in interest rates has strengthened. The Fed is widely expected to raise rates when it meets in mid-December. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

    Joint Economic Committee Chairman Sen. Dan Coats, R-Ind., right, and ranking member Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., left, listen as Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, center, speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Nov. 17, 2016. Yellen ... sketched a picture of an improving U.S. economy and said "the case for an increase" in interest rates has strengthened. The Fed is widely expected to raise rates when it meets in mid-December. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh) (The Associated Press)

Yellen cites economic gains as Dec. rate hike seems likely

Markets Associated Press

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.

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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.