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Great Lakes steel output rises by 10,000 tons

Steel sheeting rolls along the hot dip galvanizing line at the Burns Harbor ArcelorMittal plant in 2011.

Raw steel production in the Great Lakes region rose to 673,000 tons last week, as compared to 663,000 tons the week before, marking the third straight week production has increased.

But steel output continues to trail the anemic 2015 pace by about 275,000 tons so far this year.

Overall U.S. steel output fell by 0.8 percent last week, according to an American Iron and Steel Institute estimate.

Most of the raw steel production in the Great Lakes region takes place in the Chicago area, mainly Lake and Porter counties in the Calumet Region.

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Production in the Southern District, which spans mini-mills across the South, fell to 607,000 tons last week, compared to 649,000 tons a week before.

Total U.S. raw steel production last week was about 1.76 million tons, down from 1.775 million tons a week earlier.

Nationally, domestic steel mills had a capacity utilization rate of 75.3 percent last week, down from 75.9 percent a week earlier. The capacity utilization rate had been 73.7 percent at the same time a year earlier, and some industry analysts say it wouldn’t be healthy unless it were more than 90 percent.

Year-to-date steel output in the United States has been 38.7 million net tons, at a capacity utilization rate of 72.1 percent, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute. Output had been 39 million tons at the same time in 2015.

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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.