Steel production up 3.7 percent this year

ArcelorMittal Indiana Harbor. Great Lakes steel production ticked down by 1,000 tons last week.

Great Lakes steel production ticked down to 691,000 tons last week, a slight decrease.

Steel mills in the Great Lakes region made 692,000 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 1.858 million tons of metal last week, down from the 1.864 million tons made the previous week.

U.S. steel mills have run at a capacity utilization rate of 77 percent so far this year, up from 74.6 percent at the same point in 2017, according to the AISI.

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Domestic steelmakers used about 79.3 percent of their steelmaking capacity in the week that ended Aug. 25, up from 75.8 percent at the same time a year ago but down from 79.5 percent a week prior, 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.

Nationally, as 25 percent Section 232 tariffs make imports more expensive, U.S. steel output is up by 3.7 percent so far this year, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute, a 0.1 percent increase as compared to the past week.

Production in the Southern district, a wide geographic swath that includes many mini mills, fell to 683,000 tons last week, down from 693,000 tons the previous week. Steel output in the greater Midwest rose slightly to 192,000 tons last week, up from 190,000 tons the previous week.


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.