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Cold-formed steel production stayed steady in 2018

Steel coil stacked outside Wheatland Tube in Chicago. Cold-formed steel production stayed steady last year.

The production of steel used to make cold-formed steel products stayed level in 2018 despite a 2 percent decline in the fourth quarter.

Manufacturers of steel for cold-formed steel framing products made 1.126 million tons in 2018, as compared to 1.124 million tons in 2017, according to the Steel Framing Industry Association. Fourth-quarter production slipped down to 268,063 tons, down from 273,682 tons during the third quarter.

Cold-formed steel framing is used to make about half of non-residential buildings, such as commercial and industrial structures, in the United States. Manufacturers made about 136,057 tons of structural cold-formed steel during the fourth quarter.

Steel Framing Industry Association members in Northwest Indiana include Chicago Area Building Specialties in Crown Point, South County Gypsum in Crown Point, MRI Steel Framing in Gary, Aegis Metal Framing in Highland, Sices Material Products in Gary, and ClarkDietrich Engineering Services in Merrillville.

Overall, U.S. steelmakers made more than 95 million tons of steel last year, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute.

That's the most since 2007, according to the World Steel Association. U.S. steel mills made 98.1 million tons of steel in 2007, but only put out an average of 81.9 million tons a year since then.

But the Section 232 tariffs of 25 percent on all foreign-made steel, a robust economy, and improving market conditions helped improve American steel production last year. 

The American Iron and Steel Institute reports that steel production is up about 10.5 percent so far this year, but steel prices have been slumping of late.

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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.