A statistic gaining attention in the United States in early July was the surging number of new COVID-19 cases in several western and southern U.S. states. The new caseload has not yet checked ongoing modest gains to steel output in the U.S., however.
The Washington-based American Iron & Steel Institute has reported that 1.27 million tons of steel were made in the U.S. in the week ending July 4 of this year. That represents a 2.3 percent increase from output the previous week, ending June 27.
The mill operating capacity rate rose to 56.6 percent in early July, inching up from the 55.4 percent capacity rate in the final week of June.
Steel production figures in the U.S. remain far below their pre-COVID-19 counterparts from 2019. For the week ending July 4, total output was down 31.6 percent from the comparable week in 2019. In early July 2019, the mill capacity rate was 79.7 percent.
The onset of COVID-19 and subsequent restrictions in mid-March in the U.S. quickly changed the steel production landscape in America. Mills operated at 79.4 percent capacity rate the week ending March 21 of this year, before plunging to a rate as low as 51.1 percent for the week ending May 2.