Raw steel production in the country's Great Lakes region rocketed to 642,000 tons in the week that ended Saturday, according to an American Iron and Steel Institute estimate.
Production rose by about 33,000 tons, or about 5.4 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 was estimated at 641,000 tons, up from 689,000 tons a week earlier.
Total domestic raw steel production last week was about 1.836 million tons, up from 1.83 million tons a week earlier.
U.S. steel mills had a capacity utilization rate of 76.6 percent last week, up from 76.4 percent a week earlier. The capacity utilization rate had been 76.5 percent at the same time last year.
Domestic mills have produced an estimated 4.7 million tons of steel this year, up 0.1 percent from the same period last year. The mills had made about 7,000 fewer tons by Jan. 18, 2013.
Through the end of November, steel exports were down 7.5 percent as compared to 2012, according to the American Institute for International Steel.
"The NAFTA and offshore markets remain softer in 2013 than in 2012," said Richard Chriss, AIIS executive director. "While the NAFTA market's decline represents the bulk of the decline, we also have to be concerned about 26.5 percent reduction in shipments to the other Western Hemisphere markets, which are our second largest export destination, with the most potential for American-made steel."