Great Lakes steel production shot up to 631,000 tons last week, an increase of 2.43 percent and the second straight weekly gain.
Steel mills in the Great Lakes region made 616,000 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.
So far this year, U.S. steelmakers have produced 83.3 million tons of steel, about 4.3 percent more than they did during the same period in 2016. Domestic steel mills have been running at a capacity of 74.5 percent so far this year, up from 70.8 percent through the same time last year.
Domestic steelmakers used about 73.8 percent of their steelmaking capacity in the week that ended Dec. 2, up from 73 percent the previous week but up significantly from 67.3 percent at the same time a year earlier, 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 rose by 17,000 tons last week to 1.72 million tons, an increase of 0.99 percent, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute.
Production in the southern district, usually the second largest steelmaking region after the Great Lakes, dropped to 641,000 tons last week, down 1.53 percent from 651,000 tons a week earlier. Steel output in the Midwest swung back to 168,000 tons last week, up from 162,000 tons a week earlier.