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Great Lakes steel production drops by negligible 3,000 tons last week

ArcelorMittal Indiana Harbor West as seen from the Whiting lakefront.

Great Lakes steel production ticked down to 655,000 tons last week, a slight decrease.

Steel mills in the Great Lakes region made 658,000 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 1.753 million tons of metal last week, a slight decline of 2,000 tons.

U.S. steel mills have run at a capacity utilization rate of 75.5 percent so far this year, up from 74.4 percent at the same point in 2017, according to the AISI.

Domestic steelmakers used about 74.8 percent of their steelmaking capacity in the week that ended June 9, down from 74.9 percent at the same time a year ago and also from a week prior, 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, at least for the larger integrated mills like those around Lake Michigan, because of their high fixed costs.

U.S. national steel output is up by 1.8 percent so far this year, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute.

Production in the Southern district, a wide geographic swath that includes many mini mills, fell to 645,000 tons last week, down from 655,000 tons the previous week. Steel output in the greater Midwest rose to 178,000 tons last week, up from 163,000 tons the previous week.


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.