Great Lakes steel production rose to 682,000 tons last week, an increase of 3.17 percent as compared to the previous week.
Steel mills in the Great Lakes region made 661,000 tons of metal the previous week, rising by 21,000 tons week-over-week after falling by 21,000 tons a week ago, 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, which are home to half the nation's blast furnace capacity.
Overall, domestic steel mills made 1.907 million tons of steel last week, up from 1.886 million tons the previous week.
U.S. steel mills have run at a capacity utilization rate of 80.9 percent through Feb. 23, up from 75.7 percent at the same point in 2018, according to the AISI.
Domestic steelmakers used about 81.9 percent of their steelmaking capacity in the week that ended Feb. 23, up from 81 percent the previous week and up from 77.9 percent at the same time last year, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute.
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Some analysts say steel-making 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 in Northwest Indiana, because of their high fixed operating costs. But the capacity utilization rate has been significantly higher this year than during the most recent downturn, when blast furnaces were taken offline at ArcelorMittal Indiana Harbor in East Chicago and elsewhere.
So far this year, domestic steel mills have made 14.6 million tons of steel, an 8 percent increase over the same period in 2018.
Production in the Southern district, a wide geographic swath that includes many mini mills, rose to 736,000 tons last week, up from 726,000 tons the previous week.
Steel output in the greater Midwest dipped to 205,000 tons last week, down from 206,000 tons the previous week.