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Great Lakes steel output rose by 2,000 tons

The blast furnace sculpture in downtown Gary, across from the Gary Works steel mill. The Great Lakes Region made 650,000 tons of steel last year.

Great Lakes steel production rose to 650,000 tons last week, a 0.03 percent increase.

Steel mills in the Great Lakes region made 648,000 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 1.72 million tons of metal last week, a 1.53 percent decline compared to the previous week.

U.S. steel mills have run at a capacity utilization rate of 72.5 percent so far this year, down from 74.5 percent at the same time in 2017.

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Domestic steelmakers used about 73.8 percent of their steelmaking capacity in the week that ended Jan. 27, down from 74.5 percent at the same time last year but up from 72.6 percent the previous week, 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 dropped by 26,000 tons last week to 1.72 million tons, down from 1.69 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 629,000 tons last week, up from 599,000 tons the previous week. Steel output in the Midwest dropped slightly to 159,000 tons last week, down from 160,000 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.