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Local steel production rebounds by 13,000 tons

An ArcelorMittal steelworker moves an order of steel in the slab yard in Plant 2 at the East Chicago mill. Great Lakes steel production rose by 2.1 percent last week.

After a three-week slide, Great Lakes steel production rose to 616,000 tons last week, a 2.1 percent increase.

Steel mills in the Great Lakes region made 603,000 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 81.6 million tons of steel, about 4.2 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 percent of their steelmaking capacity in the week that ended Nov. 25, down from 74.9 percent the previous week but up significantly from 67.1 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 fell by 42,000 tons last week to 1.7 million tons, a decrease of 2.4 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 651,000 tons last week, down 5.24 percent from 687,000 tons a week earlier. Steel output in the Midwest dipped to 162,000 tons last week, down from 168,000 tons a week earlier.


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.