Great Lakes steel production fell to 724,000 tons last week, a decrease of 2 percent from the previous week.
Steel mills in the Great Lakes region made 739,000 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.
Overall, domestic steel mills made 1.922 million tons of steel last week, up from the 1.891 million tons made the previous week and up by 12.1 percent as compared to the same time last year.
U.S. steel mills have run at a capacity utilization rate of 80.3 percent through Jan. 26, up from 73.6 percent at the same point in 2018, according to the AISI.
Domestic steelmakers used about 81.1 percent of their steelmaking capacity in the week that ended Jan. 26, up from 80.7 percent the previous week, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute.
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 a downturn in the steel industry several years ago.
So far this year, domestic steel mills have made 7 million tons, a 10.9 percent increase over the same period in 2018.
Production in the Southern district, a wide geographic swath that includes many mini mills, rose to 691,000 tons last week, up from 670,000 tons the previous week.
Steel output in the greater Midwest rose to 205,000 tons last week, down from 201,000 tons the previous week.