Are U.S. coins in short supply?
Ask your local panhandler how the perceived coin shortage is impacting his/her income. "Hey, buddy can you spare a dime?" is a fast fading phrase across the land as dimes, quarters and other U.S. coins are disappearing!
But for once we can't blame the government. The culprit is the good old fashioned piggy bank, according to the Federal Reserve.
There is currently an adequate overall amount of coins in the economy. But business and bank closures associated with the COVID-19 pandemic significantly disrupted normal circulation patterns for U.S. coins.
This slowed pace of circulation reduced available inventories in some areas of the country during 2020. The Federal Reserve continues to work with the U.S. Mint and others in the industry to keep coins circulating.
As a first step, a temporary cap was imposed in June 2020 on the orders depository institutions place for coins with the Federal Reserve to ensure that the supply was fairly distributed. Because coin circulation patterns have not fully returned to pre-pandemic levels, caps were reinstated in May 2021.
We continue to closely monitor orders and deposits from depository institutions as well as U.S. Mint production. The U.S. Coin Task Force, which was formed in July 2020 to identify, implement, and promote actions to address disruptions to coin circulation, continues to meet regularly until coin circulation normalizes.
Since mid-June of 2020, the U.S. Mint has been operating at full production capacity. In 2020, the Mint produced 14.8 billion coins, a 24 percent increase from the 11.9 billion coins produced in 2019. As the economy recovers and businesses reopen, more coins will flow back into retail and banking channels and eventually into the Federal Reserve, which should allow for the further rebuilding of coin inventories available for recirculation.
The U.S. Mint has inaugurated a series of quarters bearing the likeness of American Heroines. The shiny coins will be distributed starting this year.