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Steel production up 2.3% so far this year

An ArcelorMittal steelworker uses a crane to move an order of steel in the slab yard at Plant 2 at the company's East Chicago mill. Great Lakes steel production rose by 11,000 tons last week.

Great Lakes steel production rose by 11,000 tons, or 1.65%, last week.

Steel mills in the Great Lakes region, clustered mainly in Northwest Indiana, made 677,000 tons of metal, up from 666,000 tons the previous week, according to the Washington D.C.-based American Iron and Steel Institute. 

Overall, domestic steel mills in the United States made 1.923 million tons of steel last week, up 1.3% from 1.898 million tons the previous week.

So far this year, domestic steel mills in the United States have made 3 million tons of steel, a 2.3% increase over the 2.94 million tons made during the same period in 2019. 

U.S. steel mills have run at a capacity utilization rate of 82.1% through Jan. 11, up from 80.4% at the same point in 2019, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute.

Domestic steelmakers used about 82.5% of their steelmaking capacity in the week that ended Saturday, up from 80.4% a year earlier and from 82% the previous week.

A steel capacity utilization rate of 83.4% last year was the highest level reached in the U.S. since September 2008, according to the trade publication Platts.

Steel production in the Southern region, a wide geographic swath that encompasses many mini-mills and rivals the Great Lakes region in output, produced 721,000 tons of steel in the week that ended Saturday, up from 698,000 tons the week before. Production in the rest of the Midwest rose to 214,000 tons last week, up from 209,000 tons the week prior.

Gallery: The world of Steel

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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.