Great Lakes steel production rose by 14,000 tons last week, while U.S. steel mills exceeded 80% capacity utilization, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute.
National steel output is up 9.5% so far this year and more than 50% 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 635,000 tons of metal in the week that ended May 29, up from 621,000 tons the previous week.
Overall, domestic steel mills in the United States made 1.836 million tons of steel last week, up 2.4% from 1.793 million tons the previous week, but up 46.6% 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 35.91 million tons of steel, a 9.5% increase compared to the 32.81 million tons made during the same period in 2020.
U.S. steel mills have run at a capacity utilization rate of 78.1% through May 29, up from 69.9% at the same point in 2020, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute.
Steel capacity utilization nationwide was 81.5% last week, which was up from 54.6% at the same time a year ago and but down from 79% 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 793,000 tons last week, up from 762,000 tons the week before. Volume in the rest of the Midwest rose to 187,000 tons from 184,000 tons the week prior.