When the coronavirus pandemic was at its worst, you may have noticed posters saying something along the lines of: Due to the widespread coin scarcity, please use exact change placed at company entrances and taped near cash registers.
The peak days of COVID saw bank and business closures, which disrupted coin circulation because there were fewer transactions and more people chose to shop online or hold onto their cash rather than deposit it.
Many of those placards are still in place today, more than two years after the world was shut down by the coronavirus outbreak, appealing with customers to count out their exact amount in order to preserve coinage in circulation.
A limit on coin orders was put in place in June 2020, according to the Federal Reserve, to make sure that "the supply was equitably divided." The quota was eventually raised, but it was put back in place in May 2021 because coin circulation levels weren't back to what they were before the pandemic.
However, there is currently no cap on coin orders, and the United States Mint is operating at full capacity to make more coins as the summer of 22 draws to a close. According to the Fed, the Mint produced 14.8 billion coins in 2020, a 24% increase from 2019.
Public service announcements urging Americans to utilise their coins appear to have had an impact, as consumers are once again active in the economy.
A task team established in 2021 to investigate solutions to the coin scarcity discovered that consumer cash expenditure is still fairly unpredictable.
The Fed and the Mint would collaborate with an outside consultant to analyse supply chain challenges and develop remedies to stop future coin shortages, according to the same article. That task took several months, and the results are still waiting.
"More coins will flow back into retail and banking channels and eventually into the Federal Reserve as the economy recovers and businesses reopen, which should allow for the further rebuilding of coin inventories available for recirculation," the Fed's website states.