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A bar of steel makes its way through the 80" hot strip mill on its way to becoming a coil of steel. Steel shipments skyrocketed by 11.7 percent year-over-year in September, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute.

John J. Watkins, The Times

Steel shipments skyrocketed by 11.7 percent year-over-year in September.

U.S. steel mills shipped 7.55 million tons in September, up from 6.7 million tons in September 2016 but down 4.7 percent from 7.9 million tons in August, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute.

Shipments of cold-rolled sheets rose 5 percent in September, as compared to August, the American Iron and Steel Institute found. Hot-rolled sheets and hot-dipped galvanized sheets and strip both declined by 9 percent.

So far this year, U.S. steelmakers have shipped 68.4 million tons of steel, a 4 percent increase over the 65.8 million tons shipped over the first nine months in 2016, according to the AISI.

Shipments are a key metric of the health of the steel industry since they reflect the amount of steel actually sold to paying customers.

So far this year, steel mills in the United States have produced slightly more than 73 million tons of steel, about 3.8 percent more than they did during the same period in 2016.

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Business reporter

Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.