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Great Lakes steel output rises by 3,000

U.S. Steel's Gary Works is shown in this aerial view. Steel production in the Great Lakes reason grew by 3,000 tons last week.

Great Lakes steel production rose to 653,000 tons last week, a 0.4 percent increase and the second straight week it's ticked up slightly.

Steel mills in the Great Lakes region made 650,000 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 in Lake and Porter counties in Northwest Indiana.

Overall, domestic steel mills made 1.747 million tons of metal last week, a 1.6 percent increase compared to the previous week.

U.S. steel mills have run at a capacity utilization rate of 73 percent so far this year, down from 74.6 percent at the same time in 2017.

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Domestic steelmakers used about 75 percent of their steelmaking capacity in the week that ended Feb. 3, down from 75.1 percent the previous week but up from 73.8 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.

Overall, U.S. national steel output rose by 28,000 tons last week, up from 1.71 million tons the previous week, 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 646,000 tons last week, up from 629,000 tons the previous week. Steel output in the Midwest rose slightly to 162,000 tons last week, up from 159,000 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.