COVID-19 has changed a lot of things. But one impact this pandemic has had is something most people wouldn’t think about: coin circulation.
The U.S. Mint is busy crafting new coinage all the time, including pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters and more. They contributed 17% of newly minted circulating coins in 2019. The rest came from third-party coin processors and retail.
HOW COIN CIRCULATION AFFECTS THE ECONOMY
Coins circulate through the economy as people spend money. When you go to the convenience store and buy a soda with change, that money is put in the register. Then the register is added to the cash box, which is taken to a bank.
Banks, coin processors and retailers will put coins back into the economy. Usually, this works enough to keep the coins moving where they need to be, but problems occur when part of that cycle breaks, with the COVID-19 pandemic that’s been the problem. Since people aren’t going out as much, coins that would usually make their way back into the system aren’t actually getting spent. That means shortages.
The U.S. Mint is making more coinage than it has in 20 years, but it’s not enough. They have been trying to lower the risk of exposure to COVID-19 for their employees as well, and that means lowering the number of employees per shift. Even with that, they’re minting an average of 1.65 billion coins per month, as opposed to 1 billion in 2019.
CURRENT COIN CIRCULATION PROBLEMS
You may have seen the signs at fast food restaurants, gas stations and grocery stores. “Please use exact change,” or “Use card if possible” are some of the messages that you might have noticed. Or you may have seen some of the buy-back programs where companies are asking for coins and offering free stuff in return. See the rest of the article at https://www.apmex.com/blog/coin-circulation-the-us-mint-wants-your-change-jar. This video explains the problem. - https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=40&v=pWbGMmlniCw&feature=emb_logo and has some great shots of how coins are made.
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