Great Lakes steel production ticked up by 1,000 tons last week, while U.S. steel mills remained close to 80% of capacity, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute.
National steel output is up 7.3% so far this year and more than 47% over the same time last year after steel mills sunk to just over half capacity early on in the coronavirus pandemic around this time in 2020.
Steel mills in the Great Lakes region, clustered mainly along the South Shore of Lake Michigan in Northwest Indiana, made 616,000 tons of metal in the week that ended May 15, up from 615,000 tons the previous week.
Overall, domestic steel mills in the United States made 1.799 million tons of steel last week, up 1.4% from 1.774 million tons the previous week, but up 47.1% as compared to 1.223 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 33.88 million tons of steel, a 7.3% increase compared to the 31.58 million tons made during the same period in 2020.
U.S. steel mills have run at a capacity utilization rate of 77.5% through May 15, up from 69.9% at the same point in 2020, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute.
Steel capacity utilization nationwide was 79.2% last week, which was up from 54.6% at the same time a year ago and up from 78.1% at the same time 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, was 767,000 tons last week, up from 753,000 tons the week before. Volume in the rest of the Midwest rose to 187,000 tons, up from 180,000 tons the week prior.