Great Lakes steel production grew by 12,000 tons last week, while U.S. steel mills remained at nearly 85% capacity utilization, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute.
National steel output is up more than 20% so far this year and is more than 23% higher than at the same time last year, when steel mills sunk to just over half-capacity early in the coronavirus pandemic.
Steel mills in the Great Lakes region, clustered mainly along the south shore of Lake Michigan in Northwest Indiana, made 650,000 tons of metal in the week that ended Sept. 4, up from 638,000 tons the previous week.
Overall, domestic steel mills in the United States made 1.866 million tons of steel last week, down 0.4% from 1.873 million tons the previous week, and up 23.5% compared to 1.511 million tons the same time a year prior, when the onset of the coronavirus pandemic shut down auto plants and other factories, greatly depleting the demand for steel.
So far this year, domestic steel mills in the United States have made 63.9 million tons of steel, a 20.1% increase compared to the 53.23 million tons made during the same period in 2020.
U.S. steel mills have run at a capacity utilization rate of 80.6% through Sept. 4, up from 66.6% at the same point in 2020, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute.
Steel capacity utilization nationwide was 84.5% last week, which was up from 67.4% at the same time a year ago and down from 84.9% a week prior.
Steel production in the southern region, a wide geographic swath that encompasses many mini-mills and rivals the Great Lakes region in output, totaled 771,000 tons last week, down from 811,000 tons the week before. Volume in the rest of the Midwest dipped to 193,000 tons, down from 198,000 tons the week prior.