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Great Lakes steel output rises by 18,000 tons

Great Lakes steel production rose to 655,000 tons last week.

Great Lakes steel production rose to 655,000 tons last week, a 2.82 percent increase as compared to the previous week.

Steel mills in the Great Lakes region made 637,000 tons of metal the previous week, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute. Most of the steel made in the Great Lakes region is produced around the southern shore of Lake Michigan in Lake and Porter counties in Northwest Indiana.

Overall, domestic steel mills made 1.751 million tons of metal last week, a 0.8 percent decrease compared to the previous week.

U.S. steel mills have run at a capacity utilization rate of 73.6 percent so far this year, down from 75.2 percent at the same time in 2017.

Domestic steelmakers used about 75.1 percent of their steelmaking capacity in the week that ended Feb. 17, up from 74.5 percent the previous week but down from 75.9 percent at the same time a year ago, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute.

Some analysts say steelmaking capacity utilization of about 90 percent is considered financially healthy for the industry.

U.S. national steel output fell by 14,000 tons last week, and is down 1.9 percent so far this year, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute.

Production in the Southern district, nearly always the second largest steelmaking region after the Great Lakes, rose to 654,000 tons last week, from 641,000 tons the previous week. Steel output in the Midwest fell to 162,000 tons last week, down from 167,000 tons the previous week.

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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.