OHIO Battered steel industry shows signs of recovery

Steel employment in Ohio is down 25 percent from a year ago.
YOUNGSTOWN -- Production and shipments by Ohio steel producers remain low, but there are signs of an industry recovery, the Ohio Steel Council said.
In issuing its report on the first quarter, the council said Ohio's steel production, shipment, employment and capital spending were off between 17 percent and 45 percent compared with the same quarter last year.
The declines largely resulted from the closing of Cleveland-based LTV Steel and Warren-based CSC Ltd. in 2001, the council said.
Jim Cowan, council co-chairman and general manager of North Star Steel in Youngstown, said recently enacted steel tariffs and the consolidation of the steel industry are helping.
"Improvements in demand, supply and pricing lead us to believe that a recovery is on the way, but it may be another quarter before the trend becomes clear," he said.
The council said production in the first quarter was 2.7 million tons, down 25 percent. Shipments totaled 2.9 million tons, down 17 percent.
A total of 16,122 people were employed in the steel industry, down 25 percent, and capital spending was $21.4 million, down 44 percent.
The statistics, compiled by Youngstown State University's Center for Urban Studies, cover steelmakers that produce about 90 percent of all steel made in Ohio.
The council is a public-private partnership designed to strengthen the steel industry. Members include North Star and WCI Steel in Warren.

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