There was some good news in the April U.S. Mint coin production report for those of us who use the numbers as an economic indicator.
Production rates are up.
The bad news?
They aren’t up much.
In the first four months of the year, the Mint has produced 1,249,190,000 coins.
If the Mint maintains this pace for a full 12 months, it will strike 5.6 percent more coins than last year.
Finding a bottom is the first step in any economic recovery.
If the 5.6 percent increase were the whole story, that is small consolation for those looking for work.
However, the rate of production in April if maintained for another eight months would lead to a far higher output increase of 37 percent for calendar year 2010.
Which will it be?
I expect it will probably fall somewhere between the two percentages and that wouldn’t be bad.
Either way, we are still a far cry from prosperity and full Mint production rates. We may never return to the heady numbers achieved in the year 2000 of over 25 billion coins, but that is a problem for another day.
Tomorrow we will see what the unemployment figures tell us.
Why do I associate this with numismatics?
Well, it all relates back to experience. Bob Wilhite, the editor of the Coin Market price guide 1976-1999, taught me his money in the jeans indicator of numismatic health.
When collectors are working and have money in their pocket, they tend to buy coins for their collection. When they aren’t working or fear losing their jobs, the money they do have in their jeans stays there.
As for the Mint, it supplies some of that money.