Great Lakes steel production ticked up by 2,000 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 20% so far this year and nearly 27% 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 638,000 tons of metal in the week that ended Aug. 28, up from 636,000 tons the previous week.
Overall, domestic steel mills in the United States made 1.873 million tons of steel last week, down 0.2% from 1.877 million tons the previous week, and up 26.9% compared to 1.476 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 62.04 million tons of steel, a 20% increase compared to the 51.71 million tons made during the same period in 2020.
U.S. steel mills have run at a capacity utilization rate of 80.5% through Aug. 28, up from 66.6% at the same point in 2020, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute.
Steel capacity utilization nationwide was 84.9% last week, which was up from 65.9% at the same time a year ago and down from 85% 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 811,000 tons last week, down from 815,000 tons the week before. Volume in the rest of the Midwest dipped to 198,000 tons, down from 201,000 tons the week prior.