The U.S. is in the midst of a national coin shortage.
As restaurants, grocery stores and other businesses around the country have posted signs near cash registers and on drive-thru windows requesting people to pay with credit cards or exact change, several widely shared Facebook posts have commented on the nation’s recent coin shortage.
As the spreading coronavirus and resulting business closures crippled economic activity in the United States, the circulation of coins dropped off significantly. The U.S. Mint, which manufactures the nation’s coin supply, also decreased staffing in response to the pandemic.
As the nation’s businesses have reopened, demand for coins has exceeded the available supply. Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell told the House Financial Services Committee on June 17 that the coin shortage has resulted from the partial closure of the economy.
“With the partial closure of the economy, the flow of funds through the economy has stopped,” he said. “We are working with the Mint and the Reserve Banks, and as the economy re-opens, we are starting to see money move around again.”