Time to break out the piggy banks!
A few months ago, the entire nation was taken by surprise when toilet paper became the most in-demand product. And since then, we have seen limits on paper goods, hygienic goods, meat products, and medication. Now, another shortage is starting to be seen and felt.
Though it's not something many of us might notice right way, the United States is facing a shortage of coins. Signs have started to be posted at retail stores and financial institutions informing customers of the low amount of change.
Jerome Powell, Chairman of the United States Federal Reserve, testified before Congress in mid-June and explained that the coronavirus pandemic affected the flow of coins in the U.S. economy. He explained that with shutdowns and decreases in cash purchases, the flow of coins has stopped and fewer coins are available to the public.
Additionally, the U.S. Mint's production of new coins has been slowed due to safety measures put in place for the protection of employees.
This isn't a shortage many believed was real, with comments online suggesting that it's a hoax or questioning what a virus has to do with coins.
My first brush with the national coin shortage. 2020 just won’t quit. pic.twitter.com/tlj3ANxKyg— Trent Jacobs (@TrentPJacobs) July 2, 2020
Damn... I tried exchanging my coins for bills at my bank last week and they refused... Perhaps now they will accept my coin shortage premonition and not refuse service to me... Funny how that works.. My timing is always off.. or not 😇 https://t.co/LPnfosw38A— 💫 (@security9111) July 1, 2020
Incase you were wondering why we’re having a national coin shortage it’s because my grandpa hoards change pic.twitter.com/qk9aFOVrw9— sydney (@SydneyONeill01) June 30, 2020
In early June, the Federal Reserve implemented a temporary order to allocate coin distribution. This means that some banks may not get their full weekly amount of coins delivered. Normally, business and financial institutions get coins both from the Federal Reserve and from customer interactions. With both of those sources running low, and the push for all online and contactless payment options, there's likely to be a shortage for a while.
The flow will increase as people begin using cash again and as businesses reopen and see more foot traffic.
"The COVID‐19 pandemic has significantly disrupted the supply chain and normal circulation patterns for U.S. coin. In the past few months, coin deposits from depository institutions to the Federal Reserve have declined significantly and the U.S. Mint’s production of coin also decreased due to measures put in place to protect its employees. Federal Reserve coin orders from depository institutions have begun to increase as regions reopen, resulting in the Federal Reserve’s coin inventory being reduced to below normal levels," said the U.S. Federal Reserve.
Have you noticed signs about a coin shortage? Has this affected you at all? Let us know your experiences and thoughts in the comments.