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Great Lakes steel output falls by 24,000 tons

ArcelorMittal Indiana Harbor in East Chicago. Capacity utilization at U.S. mills remained under 70 percent for the seventh straight week.

Raw steel production in the Great Lakes region slid to 632,000 tons last week, down from 656,000 tons a week earlier, a decrease of 3.6 percent.

Capacity utilization nationwide was only 67.3 percent last week, the seventh straight week it’s been mired under 70 percent. Overall U.S. steel output rose slightly by 7,000 tons last week to 1.597 million tons, according to an American Iron and Steel Institute estimate.

Nationally, steel output so far this year continues to trail the sluggish 2015 pace by about 1.37 million tons, a decline of 1.8 percent. In 2015, during the worst import crisis in more than a decade, steel output in the United States declined by 10.5 percent from the year before, according to the World Steel Association.

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Much of the raw steel production in the Great Lakes region takes place in Lake and Porter counties in Indiana.

Production in the Southern District, which spans mini-mills across the South, increased to 556,000 tons last week, up from 511,000 tons the previous week, an 8.8 percent gain.

National steel production through Oct. 22 of this year totaled 71.9 million tons, a decline of 1.9 percent, at a capacity utilization rate of 71.5 percent. The United States made 73.3 million tons of steel at a capacity utilization rate of 71.7 percent through the same period last year.

Source: American Iron and Steel Institute

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Business Reporter

Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.