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Data: U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics; Chart: Michelle McGhee/Axios

Consumer prices have been more volatile over the past year than at any point in decades — for good reason.

Why it matters: Congress has tasked the Federal Reserve with ensuring price stability when it comes to consumer prices overall. But the price of a broad basket of goods and services can be pretty steady even if the various components inside that basket are gyrating wildly.

The big picture: It's impossible to have shutdowns, shortages, and a massive reconfiguration of the global economy without significant price disruption, which is exactly what we've seen over the past year.

The intrigue: Because of the complexity of the economy, some of the disruptions can be counterintuitive or unexpected.

  • While the price of pork chops has risen by 11% since January, the price of ham has been flat. And while bananas have fallen in price by 1.3%, fresh fruit excluding bananas, apples and citrus has risen by over 11%.
  • The price of car and truck rentals has had a particularly striking trajectory, falling by 23% between January and May of 2020, and then rising by 61% between May 2020 and March 2021 — for an overall rise of 24%.

The bottom line: There's no indication that price volatility is over. Many of the biggest price moves have taken place in the most recent months.

Go deeper

4 hours ago - World

Canada First Nation finds mass grave at another school site

A memorial around the Centennial Flame on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, on June 4, honoring 215 Indigenous children found buried in an unmarked, mass grave at a one-time residential school in Kamloops, British Columbia. Photo: David Kawai/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A First Nation in Canada said Wednesday "hundreds" of unmarked graves have been discovered at the site of a former residential school in the prairie province of Saskatchewan.

Of note: The Cowessess First Nation said in a statement the number of graves found are "the most significantly substantial to date in Canada" — suggesting it's more than the remains of 215 Indigenous children discovered last month at a former residential school site in Kamloops, British Columbia.

Biden replaces FHFA director after Supreme Court ruling

Mark Calabria, then-director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, during a Senate hearing on Capitol Hill in 2020. Photo: Astrid Riecken/ Pool/Getty Images

The White House on Wednesday replaced the regulator who oversees mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, hours after a Supreme Court ruling enabled President Biden to oust the Trump appointee.

Why it matters: The removal of libertarian economist Mark Calabria as Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) director gives Biden more control over the fate of Freddie and Fannie, "which play an outsize role in the housing market and are central to many homeowners' ability to afford homes," per the New York Times.

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse under scrutiny for elite club affiliations

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse during a Senate hearing on Capitol Hill in February. Photo: Susan Walsh-Pool/Getty Image

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) said in a statement Wednesday that he is a member of an exclusive Rhode Island sailing club that lacks diversity.

Why it matters: Whitehouse has repeatedly spoken out against systemic racism and come under scrutiny this week for his family's affiliation with elite clubs. This is the second such club accused of lacking diversity that the senator has been linked to in recent days