Prices go up and prices go down. At the Federal Reserve, a bigger worry now is that they stay the same.

U.S. central bankers are betting the economy is near an inflection point where demand is strong enough to create more jobs, eventually nudging both wages and prices higher. A report Friday showed payrolls in the past three months rose the most in 17 years while wages showed the biggest gains since 2008, reinforcing views the threshold is close.

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Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis President James Bullard predicted the central bank will raise interest rates starting in the first quarter of 2015, sooner than most of his colleagues think, as unemployment falls and inflation quickens.

Asked about his forecast for the timing of the first interest-rate increase since 2006, he said: “I’ve left mine at the end of the first quarter of next year.”

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