Americans have witnessed some wild price hikes over the past few months. Shortages and supply chain issues across the world have sent the cost to make and move goods soaring and left consumers paying up.

Since then, prices for some pandemic favorites — such as lumber — have leveled off. But even as the economy returns to something closer to normal, inflation remains unrelentingly high.

It’s a dramatic change from the pre-pandemic state of affairs and another example of how the coronavirus crisis is reshaping the economy and everyday life.

See here: Used car prices soared in part because lockdowns led many city-dwellers to buy cars, and because new car production was hampered by shuttered plants and chip shortages. In the year ended in May, used car prices were up nearly 30%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Before the pandemic, inflation — which the Federal Reserve would like to have around 2% — had been stuck near rock bottom for years. Now, the Fed finds itself striking an increasingly difficult balance between supporting the recovery through ample stimulus while keeping inflation in check.

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