U.S. Treasury manufacturing less cash as mobile, credit card payments surge  The U.S. manufacturing sector has helped to drive growth during the nascent economic recovery. However, some industries have reported a slowdown as they are phased out because of technological improvements. The government has also been forced to slow its manufacturing, according to a published report.

The New York Times reports that the government has slowed its printing of dollar bills because of decreased demand. Activity at the government's manufacturing facility in Fort Worth, where a majority of dollar bills are produced, fell to a modern low last year. What's more, the production of $5 bills similarly declined to its lowest level in 30 years, and for the first time in that period the Treasury Department did not print a single $10 bill.

The reason for the slowdown, according to both industry analysts and government officials, is declining demand for cash. With the advent of mobile payment technology and the proliferation of debit and credit cards, consumers are increasingly shunning what is now being viewed as an antiquated payment method.

Cash can't be used to pay for online transactions, which are becoming an increasingly large component of U.S. consumer purchases, and it cannot be utilized to pay for snacks and drinks on a large number of airlines like Virgin America, which have forgone cash payments over the past few years in favor of paperless transactions.

According to The Times, 36 percent of taxi fares in New York City last year were paid for with credit and debit cards, and some restaurants and other stores are beginning to reward customers who pay with plastic over cash as it saves time and in some cases, cash.

In the 1970s when credit card use began to proliferate in the U.S., the value of U.S. currency in domestic distribution represented roughly five percent of the nation's economic activity. However, in 2010 that figure had dropped precipitously to only about 2.5 percent of economic activity, according to government data.

Still, the dawn of the end of cash isn't here quite yet. Between 30 to 50 percent of all U.S. small businesses do not accept credit card payments because of the charges they are forced to absorb by banks. Ron Shevlin, an analyst at the Boston-based research firm Aite Group, recently predicted that Americans will still be using cash in 200 years.

While it is undoubtedly becoming less popular, cash seems like it is here to stay.
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