Raw steel production in the country’s Great Lakes region dipped to 627,000 tons, and overall U.S. output inched down by 0.27 percent in the week that ended Saturday, according to an American Iron and Steel Institute estimate.
Great Lakes production declined by 7,000 tons, or 1.1 percent percent, and remained lower than normal. Steel production dropped by more 100,000 tons in early April the after U.S. Steel idled blast furnaces at Gary Works, the nation’s largest steel mill, because of difficulty bringing raw materials across the icy Great Lakes.
Last year, Great Lakes steel production was typically in the range of 650,000 to 700,000 tons a week.
Most of the raw steel production in the Great Lakes region takes place in Indiana and the Chicago area.
Production in the Southern District, typically the country’s second biggest steel-producing region, rose to 670,000 tons, up from 653,000 tons a week earlier.
Total domestic raw steel production last week was about 1.838 million tons, down from 1.843 million tons a week earlier.
U.S. steel mills had a capacity utilization rate of 76.4 percent last week, down from 76.6 percent a week earlier. The capacity utilization rate had been 76.5 percent at the same time last year.
Domestic mills have produced an estimated 35.7 million tons of steel this year, a 0.7 percent decrease from the 36 million tons produced during the same period last year.
U.S. steel mills shipped 8.3 million net tons in March, a 9.4 percent increase over February and a 5.2 percent increase over last year. Year-to-date shipments have reached 23.8 million net tons, a 1.2 percent increase over the first three months of last year.