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Local steel production jumps by 20,000 tons last week

The ArcelorMittal Indiana Harbor steel mill. Local steel production was up 20,000 tons last week.

Great Lakes steel production rose to 683,000 tons last week, a 3 percent increase as compared to the previous week.

Steel mills in the Great Lakes region made 663,000 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 1.805 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 75.5 percent so far this year, up from 74.4 percent at the same point in 2017.

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Domestic steelmakers used about 77 percent of their steelmaking capacity in the week that ended April 7, up from 76.2 percent the previous week and up significantly 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, at least for the larger integrated mills like those around Lake Michigan, because of their high fixed costs.

U.S. national steel output rose by 29,000 tons last week, and is up 1.3 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 660,000 tons last week, down from 667,000 tons the previous week. Steel output in the greater Midwest dipped to 166,000 tons last week, down from 168,000 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.