ArcelorMittal has reduced operations for certain employees at two of its U.S. long product mills as a result of business conditions, the company said in a statement issued Monday.
In East Chicago, the steelmaking company placed 155 hourly employees at Indiana Harbor Long Carbon on a 32-hour work schedule, said ArcelorMittal spokeswoman Mary Beth Holdford. All of the employees have worked at the company for less than three years.
"The company is carefully monitoring the situation and anticipates returning to normal operations once market demand can sustain full operations," Holdford said in a statement.
Indiana Harbor Long Carbon employs about 300 people.
Products from the Indiana Harbor Long Carbon operation such as special bar quality, or SBQ, are mainly used in automotive applications.
The company shut down operations at the bar mill between July 2009 and early 2010 as a result of market conditions, but activity at the facility rebounded after improvements in the economy and in the automotive industry.
Imports of hot-rolled and cold-finished bar products in the first eight months of 2012 were up 19 percent and 10 percent, respectively, from the same period a year earlier, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau.
About 30 positions have been impacted as a result of ArcelorMittal's wire rod mill in Georgetown, S.C. switching from a "three crew" operation to a "two crew" operation.
Holdford said cutbacks are a response to the impact imports are having in the domestic market, although the company anticipates returning to three work crews when market conditions improve.
Market conditions turned markedly worse for ArcelorMittal as last week the company announced it swung to a net loss of $709 million, or 46 cents per share, in the third quarter.
Within the Long Carbon Americas and Europe division, which includes the Indiana and South Carolina operations, sales were down 22 percent in the third quarter and operating income fell 44 percent from a year ago.