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When coins are like ice

Reading economic news these days is like walking on ice in Wisconsin in January.

You wonder if at any moment you will find yourself on your backside.

Usually, though, the winter worry is worse than the actual condition of the street or sidewalk. But you must always be on guard.

The same might be said of the economy this year.

This morning, I took a look at the monthly Mint production report for the month of May.

I feel better.

Output was higher in the month than for any other month in calendar year 2016. It makes me breathe a sigh of relief because coin demand follows the ups and downs of the economy.

The Mint gears production to meet coin demand. When production is rising, it is a signal that the economy needs more coins for transactions. It is good news about our economic health.

For the first five months, production numbers ran this way:

1,515,840,000

930,260,000

1,446,140,000

1,339,060,000

1,550,120,000

Looking at that sequence you can see that February looks a bit scary. If you followed the opening of the year on the stock market, you can see February coin output matched the financial trend.

May was not a breakout number. There is no signal of boom times ahead. It is merely one more step forward as on ice where you are simply glad you have not fallen.

Output was up across the circulating denominations, cent through quarter.

A month from now, I will be looking at June Mint figures in the same careful manner as I put one foot in front of the other on icy those January days.

I hope they will show the economy remaining as upright as I managed to be in January.

Buzz blogger Dave Harper has twice won the Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog and is editor of the weekly newspaper “Numismatic News.”

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