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Steel production up 1.8% this year
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Steel production up 1.8% this year

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Steel production up 1.8% this year

The ArcelorMittal Indiana Harbor steel mill. Steel output in the Great Lakes region was flat last week.

Great Lakes steel production was flat at 681,000 tons last week, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute. 

Overall, domestic steel mills in the United States made 1.866 million tons of steel last week, up 1.2% from 1.844 million tons the previous week.

So far this year, domestic steel mills in the United States have made 94.45 million tons of steel, a 1.8% increase over the 92.77 million tons made during the same period in 2018. Steel production was up 11.6% nationally in the first week of 2019, but the difference between 2019's and last year's output has been declining steadily ever since, falling most steeply as the year has gone on.

U.S. steel mills have run at a capacity utilization rate of 80.1% through Dec. 21, up from 78.2% at the same point in 2018, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute.

Domestic steelmakers used about 80.7% of their steelmaking capacity in the week that ended Saturday, up from 79.4% a year earlier and from 79.7% the previous week.

A steel capacity utilization rate of 83.4% earlier this 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 swathe that encompasses many mini-mills and rivals the Great Lakes in output, produced 695,000 tons of steel in the week that ended Saturday, up from 669,000 tons the week before. Production in the rest of the Midwest rose to 194,000 tons last week, up from 192,000 tons the week prior.

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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.

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