Steel Products Prices North America

U.S. Raw Steel Production Up to 7.83 Million Tons in December

Written by Brett Linton

U.S. raw steel production marginally increased from November to December to 7.83 million net tons, according to recently released American Iron and Steel Institute data. Recall that in August, production reached a 20-month high of 8.29 million tons. December production was up 691,000 tons or 10% 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 7.93 million tons between October and December 2021, the lowest quarterly average since April 2021. The average production rate for Q4 2021 is down 3% versus the previous quarter of the year, but up 14% from Q4 2020. Recall that Q2 2020 production had 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 December is 909,000 tons, the highest level since April 2020, and up 23% compared to the same period in 2020.

Figure 3 shows the combined production between Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkansas and Kentucky. The December 3MMA is 2.03 million tons, up 16% year-over-year. Recall that September recently saw the highest 3MMA level in SMU’s recorded history at 2.15 million tons.

Figure 4 displays 3MMA production from Ohio, currently at 999,000 tons through December and up 29% over the same period in 2020. This is the third highest 3MMA level in nearly six years, just behind the July and November 2022 3MMA’s.

Figure 5 shows the 3MMA production levels from the state of Indiana through December. Production is now at 1.91 million tons, down 1% compared to one year prior.

The average mill capacity utilization rate for December was 80.1%, down from 82.7% in November, but up from 72.9% one year ago. The average capacity utilization rate for the year is now 81.2%, up from 68.1% in 2020.

On a 3MMA basis, the capacity utilization rate through December slipped to 82.0%, up 10% compared to the same period one year prior. As shown in Figure 6, the 3MMA utilization rate had increased each month from the June 2020 low through Septemebr 2021.

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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