Great Lakes steel production fell by 10,000 tons last week, while U.S. steel mills remained well over 80% capacity utilization, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute.
National steel output is up nearly 18% so far this year and more than 37% 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 632,000 tons of metal in the week that ended July 17, down from 642,000 tons the previous week and 648,000 tons two weeks earlier.
Overall, domestic steel mills in the United States made 1.859 million tons of steel last week, up 0.4% from 1.852 million tons the previous week, and up 37.7% compared to 1.35 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 50.78 million tons of steel, a 17.8% increase compared to the 43.11 million tons made during the same period in 2020.
U.S. steel mills have run at a capacity utilization rate of 79.6% through July 17, up from 66.7% at the same point in 2020, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute.
Steel capacity utilization nationwide was 84.1% last week, which was up from 60.3% at the same time a year ago and up from 83.6% 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 803,000 tons last week, down from 804,000 tons the week before. Volume in the rest of the Midwest rose to 199,000 tons, up from 191,000 tons the week prior.