Scott Horsley

It's been a roller-coaster ride for lumber prices over the last year – and it's drawn outsize attention from the aisles of Home Depot to the Federal Reserve.

Lumber prices surged to record highs this year on the back of booming demand from homebuilders and do-it-yourselfers with plenty of time on their hands. The price surge was so big and sudden, it became a symbol of what some economists feared: rampant inflation.

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LEILA FADEL, HOST:

Solstice Wood Fire Pizza in Hood River, Ore., made it through the depths of the pandemic. And now that Americans are eating out and doing all the things that had been off-limits, this should be a booming time for owner Aaron Baumhackl.

Instead, Baumhackl is facing an unexpected problem. He's struggling to find all the workers he needs to churn out his pizzas, and he's losing valuable business.

"The demand is like we've never seen before," says Baumhackl. "It would have been a record-breaking year."

John Nephew thought he had a winner with a new tabletop game called Dice Miner. Importing the games from China turned out to be its own roll of the dice.

Nephew, founder of Atlas Games in Duluth, Minn., ordered a 40-foot cargo container full of games from Shanghai in December, anticipating delivery in about six weeks.

Updated June 16, 2021 at 5:19 PM ET

The Federal Reserve will continue pumping money into the economy despite a sharp jump in consumer prices.

The central bank said Wednesday it would leave interest rates near zero and maintain its aggressive program of bond purchases in hopes of encouraging a faster rebound from the pandemic recession.

"We at the Fed will do everything we can to support the economy for as long as it takes to complete the recovery," Fed chairman Jerome Powell told reporters Wednesday.

Updated June 10, 2021 at 9:56 AM ET

Prices for a lot of things are surging across the U.S., and John McConnell's recent car-shopping experience helps explain why.

McConnell, from Colorado Springs, Colo., was recently looking for a Toyota Tacoma to replace his two-year-old Nissan Altima and was shocked to see the one he wanted priced several thousand dollars above the sticker price.

He plans to buy it anyway.

Updated June 12, 2021 at 6:35 AM ET

The United States is about to embark on a big national experiment with 4 million unemployed workers serving as guinea pigs. And it all centers on $300 a week.

That payment was intended as a lifeline for millions of Americans who lost their jobs during the pandemic: an extra $300 a week on top of regular unemployment benefits.

Updated June 4, 2021 at 1:21 PM ET

Hiring picked up steam last month, providing a mild shot of relief to an economy that needs workers as millions of Americans start to venture out again.

U.S. employers added 559,000 jobs in May. That's about twice the number of jobs that were added during a disappointing April but is still a slowdown compared with the 770,000 jobs created in March.

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MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

The 1970s are starting to trend – for all the wrong reasons.

Today, prices for everything from gasoline to groceries are surging as the economy roars back from the pandemic recession. And that's raising concerns in some quarters about whether the United States is headed back to the awful economic days of the 1970s, when the country was gripped by double-digit inflation that required painful action by the Federal Reserve.

President Biden wants the government to measure the financial fallout of a changing climate on American families, businesses and the federal government.

On Thursday, Biden signed an executive order compelling key regulators including Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and other members of the Financial Stability Oversight Council to assess the risks that a changing climate poses to the U.S. financial system.

It also suggests the Council make recommendations within six months on steps to reduce those risks.

Updated May 7, 2021 at 1:18 PM ET

Hiring unexpectedly slowed last month as businesses struggled to keep pace with booming demand from newly vaccinated customers.

U.S. employers added just 266,000 jobs in April, according to a monthly snapshot from the Labor Department. It was the weakest month of job growth since January.

Beverly Pickering says her neighbors in suburban Detroit are hitting the road. And that's good news for her pet sitting business.

"I have people going to California, Florida, the Carolinas — all over the country," she said. "It's travel, travel, travel. It's just exploded."

From iPads to dresses, Americans flush with cash are stepping up their spending, helping turbo-charge the U.S. economy.

The Commerce Department reported Friday that personal income jumped 21.1% in March — the largest increase on record as the government sent out $1,400 relief payments as part of the $1.9 trillion coronavirus rescue effort.

Personal spending also jumped by 4.2%. The stimulus checks arrived at a time of rising hope as coronavirus vaccines continue to roll out.

Updated April 29, 2021 at 8:43 AM ET

The U.S. economy expanded at a rapid pace in the first three months of the year, setting the stage for what's expected to be the strongest annual growth in nearly four decades.

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