Federal Reserve

Fed rate hike in December? Chicago Fed Pres Charles Evans says there's no urgency

US needs cushion for future easing: Chicago Fed President

The market may be increasingly pricing in the possibility the U.S. Federal Reserve will hike rates in December, but Chicago Fed President Charles Evans was noncommittal.

"December could be an appropriate time to do it, but I don't see any urgency either," Evans told CNBC's "Squawk Box" on Monday in an exclusive interview.

He noted that inflation remained below the Fed's 2 percent target.

Dec could be 'appropriate' for rate hike: Fed's Evans

Evan's comments followed Friday's closely watched U.S. nonfarm payrolls data, which showed the economy added 156,000 jobs in September, below market expectations for around 176,000.

But Evans said, "I thought it was actually a pretty good report," noting that household employment rose. And while the unemployment rate was rounded up very slightly to 5.0 percent from the previous month's 4.9 percent, Evans was positive on the outlook.

"When the labor force is continuing to expand a little bit, that's a good sign. Wages going up a little bit, that's a good sign. But it's still not really consistent with labor market tightness," he said. "[It's] not anything that's going to lead to inflation moving up above 2 percent and I want to get to 2 percent."

Charles Evans, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, on Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2013
Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Average hourly wages pushed higher in the latest payrolls report, rising 6 cents to an annualized rate of 2.6 percent. The average work week also inched up one-tenth to 34.4 hours.

Evans said it was important to get inflation to the Fed's 2 percent target, in order to provide a cushion later if the central bank needed to ease policy.

"For risk management reasons, we need to make sure we hit our inflation objective at the same time we're at full employment," he said.

The central banker noted that the Fed's policy rate on average was projected to be at the neutral level at around 3 percent, which he expected the Fed would reach by 2019, but probably not sooner than that. The current rate is 0.25 percent to 0.50 percent.

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—By CNBC.Com's Leslie Shaffer; Follow her on Twitter @LeslieShaffer1