In the week ending Dec. 12, U.S. raw steel production totaled 1.567 million net tons, while the capability utilization rate was 70.9 percent, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI), Washington. In the comparable week in 2019, production was 1.815 million net tons, while the capability utilization was 78.5 percent. Production for the recently completed week represents a 13.7 percent decrease from the same period in the previous year.
While production largely has been increasing since the industry began to recover in May from shutdowns related to the pandemic after reaching a trough of 1.14 million tons (a 51.1 percent capacity rate) the week ended May 2, it has not done so on a steadily upward trajectory. Production for the week ending Dec. 12 is down 0.8 percent from the previous week ending Dec. 5. During that week, 1.579 million net tons of steel were produced, and the rate of capability utilization was 71.4 percent, according to AISI.
Week-to-week production also dipped at times in early June, late August and late November.
The association reports that adjusted year-to-date production through Dec. 12 was 75.332 million net tons at a capability utilization rate of 67.3 percent, which is 18.2 percent less than the 92.079 million net tons produced during the same period last year when the capability utilization rate was 79.8 percent.
The southern region continues to lead in terms of production, having made 628,000 tons the week ended Dec. 12. The Great Lakes region was the next-largest producer at 558,00 tons. The western region produced the least steel for the week ended Dec. 12 at 72,000 tons.