Janet Yellen Offers More Evidence of a Strong US Economy
Fed could raise its interest rate for first time in years
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 2, 2015 2:18 PM CST
Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said the US economy could be ready for an interest rate hike while speaking at the Economics Club of Washington on Wednesday.   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

(Newser) – It's becoming more and more likely the Federal Reserve will raise its interest rates this month for the first time in nearly a decade, USA Today reports. The economy has already hit the Fed's goal of 5% unemployment and is closing in on its goal of 2% inflation, Fed Chair Janet Yellen said Wednesday. A decision to raise interest rates would be a "testament, also, to how far the economy has come in recovering from the effects of the financial crisis and the Great Recession," she said. According to the New York Times, the Fed has kept its benchmark rate near zero for seven years in order to "stimulate economic growth by encouraging risk-taking by investors and borrowing by businesses and consumers."

Financial markets put the odds of a rate increase at 75% when the Fed meets in mid-December, USA Today reports. According to the Wall Street Journal, Yellen has warned about waiting to long to increase rates, as that could actually lead to another recession. But Yellen said the economy is still fairly weak, so rate increases would come slowly over the coming years, the Times reports. According to the Journal, a report on November job growth due Friday will have an impact on the Fed's decision later this month. Since June, the US has been adding an average of 195,000 jobs per month, USA Today reports. According to the Times, raising interest rates means the Fed is confident the US economy can keep growing without as much support from the government.