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Here's your chance to make coins

The unemployment rate is dropping and the U.S. Mint is planning to do its bit to keep America moving forward.

It plans to hire 86 people in the coming weeks, said Tom Jurkowsky, director of the U.S. Mint Office of Corporate Communications.

Coin production levels at the Philadelphia and Denver Mints is projected to be 17 billion pieces, a level not see since 2006, well before the onset of the financial crisis. To produce them, the Mint needs more employees.

Philadelphia is aiming to hire 46 persons. Of these, 25 will be permanent hires, 18 will be term employees who agree to work for a specified period and three will be temps.

It is expected that these new hires will begin work in July.

Denver hires will number 40 and all of them will be for fixed terms.

Job fairs will be held at both minting facilities, though the dates have not yet been determined.

Current coin production is more than four times the low point of 2009, which was reached in the depths of the financial crisis.

In that year just over 3.5 billion coins were produced, a level not seen since the 1950s and a far cry from the record 25 billion of 2000.

While others are speculating about the looming end to cash, the U.S. Mint is faced with the reality of rising demand springing from a growing economy.

By no means have the boom conditions of the year 2000 returned.

However, a 17-billion-coin output number is much closer to the high point than the recessionary low.

For collectors who regularly follow the numbers, the present increases in Mint coin output is also tangible confirmation that the economy really is growing.

In calendar year 2014, coin output was 13.3 billion pieces and in 2013 the figure was 11.9 billion.

From a personal observation standpoint, the early arrival of 2015-dated cents in Iola, Wis., is also anecdotal confirmation of improving demand for coins throughout the American economy.

This is unusually early for the new cents to arrive in this rural part of the state.

In recent years the arrival of new dates in Iola have sometimes been a year or two behind the calendar. It is nice to see this change.

Buzz blogger Dave Harper is winner of the 2014 Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog and is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."