We are told the economy is partying like it is 1969.
Unemployment is down to a rate of 3.7 percent, which is the lowest since that tumultuous year a half century ago.
Coin collectors who were active then were amazed at the huge growth in annual coin output at the U.S. Mint.
Economic growth equaled ever-growing demand for coins.
It was logical.
But here were are in 2018.
Economic growth does not need coins like it once did.
The pivot point where the correlation began to break down was the year 2000.
Unemployment was 3.8 percent in April of that year.
Mint coin production was running at a record rate of 25 billion pieces per year.
Now it is running at a rate of just over 12 billion a year.
The Gross Domestic Product in 2000 was $10.3 trillion.
Now it is over $20 trillion.
What’s my point?
Well, consider that the size of the U.S. economy has doubled and the demand for coins has dropped by half.
In other words, for every dollar of economic activity being generated, the economy needs only 25 percent of the new coins it needed in 2000.
That’s a huge drop.
If this translated equally into the lives of every American, every collector, you would be living on double your income of 18 years ago and using half as many coins.
If you are, you are a perfect reflection of the economy.
Some Numismatic News readers have said that they have basically taken coin use out of their day-to-day lives.
They do it for convenience and for airline miles.
The important thing to remember is they are ahead of the economy as a whole.
Those of us who spend more cash and get more coins in change are at the other end of the curve.
We are lagging the changes in the overall economy.
Until this year, I was a laggard.
I tried to use cash routinely.
I lived and worked in the small town of Iola, Wis., and I could drop by the bank during lunch hour without a problem.
I could routinely check on what coins were in circulation.
Since I began commuting to Stevens Point on a daily basis, I can no longer routinely drop in on my bank.
I have been forced to catch up with the modern economy.
My electronic payments expanded.
I miss my old coin using habit.
On the other hand, I know my airline miles are increasing.
Buzz blogger Dave Harper won the Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog for the third time in 2017. He is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."
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