U.S. steel mills produced 1.93 million net tons of raw steel during the week ending March 16, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI).
Production for the week — which came at a capacity utilization rate of 82.9% — was up 5.7% compared with the same week the previous year but down 0.6% from the previous week.
Adjusted year-to-date production through March 16 reached 20.3 million net tons — up 6.7% compared with the same period in 2018 — at a capacity rate of 81.4%. For the same period in 2018, mills produced 19.0 million tons at a capacity utilization rate of 76.6%.
By region, the Great Lakes holds the top spot in terms of steel production for the year through March 16:
- North East: 226,000 net tons
- Great Lakes: 729,000 net tons
- Midwest: 205,000 net tons
- Southern: 711,000 net tons
- Western: 59,000 net tons
The U.S. steel sector’s capacity rate continues to climb on the heels of the Trump administration’s Section 232 action last year. In general, a capacity rate of 80% is considered a mark of a healthy industry.
U.S. steelmakers increased production in 2018, as they were able to compete against reduced import levels (steel imports into the U.S. were down 12% year over year in 2018).
According to the World Steel Association, the U.S. produced 86.7 million tons of crude steel in 2018, up from 81.6 million tons in 2017.