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