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U.S. Raw Steel Production Declines in September to 7.89 Million Tons

Written by Brett Linton

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U.S. raw steel production in September eased 4.9% from August to 7.89 million net tons, a 408,000-ton seasonal decline, according to American Iron and Steel Institute data. One month prior, production had reached a 20-month high of 8.29 million tons. September production is up 1.30 million tons or 19.7% compared to the same month last year.

Note that AISI’s monthly production estimates are different than the weekly estimates SMU reports each Tuesday; the monthly estimates are based on over 75% of the domestic mills reporting versus only 50% reporting for the weekly estimates.

Figure 1 compares monthly production data on a three-month moving average (3MMA) basis to smooth out the month-to-month fluctuations. Raw steel production averaged 8.14 million tons between July and September 2021, the second highest quarterly average since July 2019. The average production rate for Q3 2021 (July through September) is up 2.2% versus the second quarter of the year, up 8.6% from Q1 2021, and up 27.8% from Q3 2020. Recall that Q2 2020 production reached the lowest 3MMA level in our 12-year history at 5.39 million tons.

SMU is now publishing regional steel production data for the four regions responsible for 10% or more of total domestic production; Figure 2 shows 3MMA production history from the combined states of Virginia, West Virginia, Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina and Louisiana. The latest 3MMA for September is 874,000 tons, the highest level since April 2020, and up 25.5% compared to the same period in 2020.

Figure 3 shows the combined production between Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkansas and Kentucky. The September 3MMA is 2.15 million tons, the highest level in SMU’s recorded history, surpassing the month prior. Production among these states is up 32.9% year-over-year through September.

Figure 4 displays 3MMA production from Ohio, currently at 966,000 tons through September and up 39.2% over the same period in 2020. 

Figure 5 shows the 3MMA production levels from the state of Indiana through September. Production is now at 2.06 million tons, up 18.1% compared to one year prior.

The average mill capacity utilization rate for September was 83.3%, up from 84.8% in August, and up from 68.6% one year ago. The average capacity utilization rate for the year is now 81.0%, up from 66.8% in the same nine-month period of 2020.

On a 3MMA basis, the capacity utilization rate through September increased to 84.2%, up 19.2% compared to the same period one year prior. As shown in Figure 6, the 3MMA utilization rate has increased each month since the September 2020 low of 55.6%.

SMU Note: Additional raw steel production graphics are available in the Analysis section of our website here. If you need assistance logging into or navigating the website, contact us at

By Brett Linton,

Brett Linton

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