Nugget of Knowledge: Coin shortage


Len Rome's Daily feature of little known facts

Where did all our pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters go? Why are we having a coin shortage?

The U.S. Treasury says it had over $47 billion worth of coins in circulation in April, which was more than the April before, but the coins are not moving through the economy as they should be nad here’s why.

Businesses and banks closed for a time when the coronavirus first began to circulate, and these businesses included many that rely on coin transactions such as convenience stores, bus rides and laundromats.

Add to that, the U.S. Mint reduced the staff for safety reasons at its Philadelphia and Denver facilities, so it was minting fewer coins.

As the economy reopens, a lot of us reached for credit cards more than ever so our coins are not in circulation, they’re sitting at home on the dresser, in piggy banks and under the couch cushions.

In certain sectors of our economy, cash remains king. Between 45 and 60 percent of sales at grocery stores and convenience stores are cash payments, and half of all transactions under $10 are in cash.

Is your household income 25 thousand dollars or less? Then you’re paying cash 43 percent of the time.

To relieve the coin shortage, the U.S. Mint is making more coins, $1.3 billion worth a month for the rest of the year.

A coin can circulate for up to 30 years, while the treasury usually retires paper bills after a year and a half.

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