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Great Lakes steel output soars by 43,000 tons
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Great Lakes steel output soars by 43,000 tons

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Local steel output soars by 43,000 tons

Employees at Munster Steel in Hammond. Great Lakes steel production soared by 7 percent last week.

Raw steel production in the Great Lakes region rose to 656,000 tons last week, a huge jump of 7 percent.

But local steel output continues to trail the 2015 pace by about 363,000 tons so far this year.

Overall U.S. steel output rose by 1.6 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. Indiana, which also has steelmaking operations in Fort Wayne and Crawfordsville, has led the nation in steel production for 35 straight years, largely because of the big local mills on the Lake Michigan shoreline.

Production in the Southern District, which spans mini-mills across the South, rose to 652,000 tons last week, compared to 648,000 tons a week before.

Total U.S. raw steel production last week was about 1.756 million tons, up from 1.727 million tons a week earlier.

Nationally, domestic steel mills had a capacity utilization rate of 75.1 percent last week, up from 73.9 percent a week earlier. The capacity utilization rate had been 72.1 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 35.2 million net tons, at a capacity utilization rate of 71.8 percent, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute. Output had been 35.6 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.

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