This Morning in Metals: US fossil fuel consumption drops to lowest in nearly 30 years in 2020

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This morning in metals news: U.S. fossil fuel consumption last year fell to its lowest level in nearly 30 years; nonfarm payroll employment rose by 850,000 in June; and, lastly, the American Iron and Steel Institute commented on the House’s INVEST in America Act.

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Fossil fuel consumption falls

crude oil

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U.S. fossil fuel consumption fell to its lowest level in nearly 30 years, the Energy Information Administration reported.

Total U.S. consumption of fossil fuels fell to 72.9 quadrillion British thermal units in 2020. The total marked a 9% decline from 2019.

“Last year marked the largest annual decrease in U.S. fossil fuel consumption in both absolute and percentage terms since at least 1949, the earliest year in our annual data series,” the EIA said. “Economic responses to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, including a 15% decrease in energy consumption in the U.S. transportation sector, drove much of the decline. The United States also had relatively warmer weather in 2020, which reduced demand for heating fuels.”

Nonfarm payroll employment up by 850,000

Nonfarm payroll employment rose by 850,000 in June, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported.

Meanwhile, the national unemployment rate remained at 5.9%.

“Notable job gains occurred in leisure and hospitality, public and private education, professional and business services, retail trade, and other services,” the BLS reported.

Manufacturing employment gained by 15,000 jobs. Fabricated metal products sector added 6,000 jobs, while primary metals added 3,000. However, manufacturing employment remains down by 481,000 jobs compared to February 2020.

AISI on INVEST bill passage

After the House voted 219-201 to pass the INVEST in America Act, the American Iron and Steel Institute called the move a “positive development.”

“Today’s House passage of the more than 500-billion-dollar surface transportation bill is a positive development in the process to repair and replace America’s deteriorating roads and bridges – and to use American steel to do so,” the industry group said. “We also applaud the bill’s provisions to ensure that the steel products purchased through the EPA’s State Revolving Fund programs for wastewater and drinking water projects be made in the United States.”

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