Local steel output falls for second straight week

28 September 2017

Great Lakes steel production fell to 684,000 tons last week, a drop of 1.5 percent and the second straight week of decline.

Steel mills in the Great Lakes region made 695,000 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 66 million tons of steel, about 3.6 percent more than they did during the same period in 2016. Steel mills have been running at a capacity of 74.6 percent so far this year, up from 72.1 percent through the same time last year.

Domestic steelmakers used about 73.8 percent of their steelmaking capacity in the week that ended Sept. 23, down from 74.9 percent the previous week and significantly up from 68 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 would be considered healthy for an industry that's been beset by imports and mill idlings in recent years, and at least some of the blast furnaces in Northwest Indiana's big integrated mills operate at around that capacity.

Overall, U.S. national steel output fell by 25,000 tons last week to 1.72 million tons, a decrease of 1.43 percent, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute.

Production in the Southern District, nearly always the country's second-largest steel-producing region, which spans mini-mills across the South, rose to 614,000 tons last week, up from 599,000 tons the previous week.