Most Federal Reserve policymakers agreed last month that the economy and labor market “could well” be strong enough to withstand a hike in interest rates in December, according to minutes of its October 27-28 meeting.

The officials said global troubles had eased and a delay could increase market uncertainty and undermine confidence in the economy.

The meeting summary provides the clearest evidence yet that a majority of Fed policymakers are leaning toward raising the central bank’s benchmark rate next month for the first time in nearly a decade, assuming the economy continues to progress.

“Most participants anticipated that, based on their assessment of the current economic situation and their outlook for economic activity, the labor market, and inflation, these conditions could well be met by the time at the next meeting (Dec. 15-16),” the minutes say.

The Fed hasn’t raised its benchmark rate since 2006, and it has hovered near zero since the 2008 financial crisis.

In a statement after the October meeting, the Fed signaled a rate increase was a viable possibility, noting that it will assess the economy’s progress in coming weeks to decide whether to lift rates “at its next meeting.

But Fed officials were even more bullish on acting next month, according to the meeting minutes. “A number” of policymakers said a delay “could increase uncertainty in financial markets and unduly magnify the perceived importance” of the first rate hike. Policymakers also voiced concerns about the growing risk of “a buildup of financial imbalances after a prolonged period of very low interest rates” – indicating worries about asset bubbles forming in certain overheated markets.

The policymakers said further putting off a rate increase “could be interpreted as signaling lack of confidence in the strength of the US economy or erode (the Fed’s) credibility.”

And they said acting relatively soon could allow the Fed to raise rates gradually over the next few years.

The Fed hasn’t raised its benchmark rate since 2006, and it has hovered near zero since the 2008 financial crisis.

The minutes suggest Fed officials need to see continued strides in the economy, not a significant leap in order to pull the trigger in December. Policymakers emphasized “it may well be appropriate” to raise rates “provided that unanticipated shocks do not adversely affect economic outlook and that incoming data support the expectation that labor market conditions will continue to improve” and inflation will return to the Fed’s 2% annual target.

The postmeeting statement said it will judge “both realized that expected progress” in deciding whether to raise rates at the next meeting. The minutes indicate officials viewed that language “as leaving policy options open.”

At its September meeting, the Fed cited the constraints on economic activity posed by global weakness and market turmoil. But the Fed softened that description after the October gathering, and the minutes provide an even more optimistic view.

Most Fed officials “saw the downside risks arising from economic and financial development prod as having diminished,” the minutes say. The policymakers were also less concerned about market turbulence, noting that “volatility global financial markets had abated” since the previous meeting.

“The U.S. financial system appeared to have weathered the turbulence in global financial markets without any sign of systemic stress,” the minutes say.

The Fed also has expressed concern about persistently low inflation and said it must be reasonably confident inflation will return to the Fed’s 2% goal in the medium-term. The minutes clarify that officials don’t need to see inflation actually accelerate, but rather that their confidence will increase “if, as anticipated, economic activity continue to expand at a” sufficient pace. The officials continue to believe that inflation is largely being tempered by low energy prices and a strong dollar — effects they expect to dissipate.

Fed policymakers also voiced worries about the slowdown in job growth in August and September. Several fretted that it was uncertain whether the weakness was a temporary blip or indicative of a more sustained slowdown. The policymakers said that was a major reason they decided to hold off on a rate increase last month.

But the government said early this month that employers added a blockbuster 271,000 jobs in October, while slightly revising up its estimated payroll gains for the two previous months.

Before the release of the minutes, financial markets were giving 72% odds of a rate increase in December, up from 6% a month ago, according to fed fund futures.