The Federal Reserve opted not to change interest rates Thursday but hinted that rates are likely to rise in December.

The U.S. interest rate is currently in a range of 2 to 2.25 percent, but the Fed has signaled it wants to gradually raise rates in the coming months to 3 percent or slightly higher. A rate hike is widely expected at the Fed’s next meeting on December 19, and the Fed has indicated it is likely to do three more increases next year.

The U.S. economy looks very strong on almost every front, the Fed said several times in a statement released Thursday. Companies are hiring workers at a rapid pace, wages are rising, and consumers, the backbone of the economy, continue shopping at a healthy rate.

“Job gains have been strong, on average, in recent months, and the unemployment rate has declined,” the Fed wrote in its statement. “Both overall inflation and inflation for items other than food and energy remain near 2 percent.”

The Fed noted that business investment “has moderated from its rapid pace earlier in the year,” a surprise since the tax cuts were expected to boost business spending. But the Fed doesn’t sound alarmed. 

Read more in the Washington Post.