Raw steel production in the country's Great Lakes region increased slightly to 661,000 tons in the week that ended Saturday, according to an American Iron and Steel Institute estimate.
Production inched up by about 6,000 tons, or about 0.9 percent, from the week prior. Most of the raw steel production in the Great Lakes region takes place in Indiana and the Chicago area.
Production in the Southern District, typically the country's second biggest steel-producing region, was estimated at 630,000 tons, down from 639,000 tons a week earlier.
Total domestic raw steel production last week was about 1.844 million tons, up from 1.84 million tons a week earlier.
U.S. steel mills had a capacity utilization rate of 77 percent last week, up from 76.8 percent a week earlier. The capacity utilization rate had been 78.3 percent at the same time last year.
Domestic mills have produced an estimated 12 million tons of steel this year, a 0.8 percent decline from the 12.1 million tons produced during the same period last year.
U.S. steel mills ships 7.6 million net tons in December, a 0.4 percent increase over November and a 2 percent increase from December 2012. Hot-rolled sheet shipments rose 9 percent, and cold-rolled shipments went up by 1 percent.
Hot-dipped galvanized sheet and strip products did not fare as well, declining by 4 percent.