Great Lakes steel production starts 2018 with jump of 46,000 tons

A worker at ArcelorMittal uses a tricycle to ride around the plant in Burns Harbor in 2011. Steel production jumped locally in the first week of 2018.

Times File Photo

Great Lakes steel production rose to 640,000 tons during the first week of 2018, a 7.7 percent jump.

Steel mills in the Great Lakes region made 594,000 tons of metal the previous week, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute. Most of the steel made in the Great Lakes region is produced in Lake and Porter counties in Northwest Indiana.

Overall, domestic steel mills made 1.6 million tons of metal last week, a 5 percent decline compared to the same period in 2017.

U.S. steel mills ran at a capacity utilization rate of 70.7 percent, down from 74.5 percent at the same time in 2017.

Domestic steelmakers used about 70.7 percent of their steelmaking capacity in the week that ended Jan. 6, down year-over-year but up from 70.2 percent the previous week, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute.

Some analysts say steelmaking capacity utilization of about 90 percent is considered financially healthy for the industry.

Overall, U.S. national steel output rose by 12,000 tons last week to 1.64 million tons, an increase of 0.73 percent from 1.63 million tons the previous week, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute.

Production in the Southern district, nearly always the second largest steelmaking region after the Great Lakes, fell to 570,000 tons last week, down from 604,000 tons the previous week. Steel output in the Midwest stayed steady at 158,000 tons last week.

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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.