Steel Blog

Most Consumers Still Confident Despite Storms

Wednesday, September 27, 2017 8:14 PM Written by
Published in Economy

Consumer confidence took a hit in the storm-affected regions of the South, but overall remains at high levels, which is positive news for the U.S. economy.

“Consumer confidence decreased slightly in September after a marginal improvement in August,” said Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at The Conference Board, an independent business research association based in New York. “Confidence in Texas and Florida, however, decreased considerably, as these two states were the most severely impacted by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Despite the slight downtick in confidence, consumers’ assessment of current conditions remains quite favorable and their expectations for the short-term suggest the economy will continue expanding at its current pace.”

Thirty-Six States Add Jobs, Infrastructure Spending's Weak

Friday, August 18, 2017 7:10 PM Written by
Published in Economy

Thirty-six states and the District of Columbia added construction jobs in the year between July 2016 and July 2017, yet only half the states added construction jobs in the month between June and July of this year amid declining public-sector investments in infrastructure and other construction projects, reports the Associated General Contractors of America in an analysis of Labor Department data.

Firms in parts of the country that build infrastructure projects are seeing less demand for their services amid overall declines in public-sector spending. "Despite growing private-sector demand, it appears that construction employment in some parts of the country is being brought down by declining public-sector investments," said Ken Simonson, chief economist for the association. "Some of these declines will be offset thanks to recently enacted state infrastructure funding increases, but stagnant federal investments are not helping."

AISI, WASHINGTON, D.C. – The American Iron and Steel Institute’s (AISI) Board of Directors today elected John Ferriola, Chairman, President and CEO, Nucor Corporation, to serve another year as chairman of the Institute, through May 2018.

“John is a recognized leader in the global and domestic steel industry. He is an outspoken advocate for the North American steel industry in the public policy arena, and continues to push for our industry’s interests with legislative and executive branch officials on all levels. John embodies the AISI mission, and continues to be a tremendous representative for the industry and our workers on a global platform,” said Thomas J. Gibson, president and CEO of AISI. “We are grateful to have such an outstanding leader serve for another year as Board Chairman. I am confident that under his continued guidance and leadership, the next twelve months will see many successes.”

The World Trade Organization expects global trade to continue to expand moderately in second quarter 2017. The World Trade Outlook Indicator (WTOI) rose to 102.2 and was the highest reading since May 2011.

Export orders, container shipping, and air freight recorded strong gains in recent months, signaling above-trend growth in merchandise trade volumes for the second quarter, according to WTO. Demand weakened for automotive products, electronics and agriculture raw materials.

Two important Federal Reserve reports on manufacturing came out this week from Dallas and Richmond.

The Dallas Federal Reserve reports that growth in the manufacturing sector continued for the tenth consecutive month but at a slower pace in April.

AAR Cautions Against Upending Trade Policies

Wednesday, March 29, 2017 3:29 PM Written by
Published in Economy

The Association of American Railroads finds in a new report that freight railroads are at risk from trade policies that curtail international trade.

In an assessment released Tuesday, the AAR said that at least 42 percent of all rail carloads and intermodal units and 35 percent of annual rail revenue are directly associated with international trade.

Rolling Meadows, Ill., March 3, 2017—M. Robert Weidner, III, president and CEO of the Metals Service Center Institute (MSCI), issued the following statement on President Donald Trump’s 2017 Trade Policy Agenda:

"We are encouraged by early outlines of the Trump administration trade law enforcement program, which sidesteps the World Trade Organization when necessary. As the Trump trade team fleshes out this promising approach, we emphatically urge a renewed focus on China’s consistent and damaging trade law and currency violations. Equally important, we believe the only effective way to bring U.S. manufacturing back to its full potential is through a comprehensive, integrated approach to trade law prosecution that accounts for the impact a single enforcement action has up and down the entire industrial metals supply chain.

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"At this critical time, we also call on the Senate to finally confirm Robert Lighthizer, President Trump’s nominee for U.S. Trade Representative, as well as the administration’s remaining cabinet nominees. Further delay by our elected representatives only retards this nation’s promise and economic progress.”

(Source: MSCI)

Alexander Acosta Nominated for Labor Secretary

Friday, February 17, 2017 3:10 PM Written by
Published in Economy

The nomination of Alexander Acosta to the position of Labor Secretary on Thursday was met with approval by the Associated General Contractors of America.

Lacosta, a Harvard graduate, served as former assistant attorney for civil rights in the Justice Department and United States attorney for the Southern District of Florida. He previously served on the National Labor Relations Board and is currently dean of the law school at Florida International University. Acosta, if confirmed, would be the first Hispanic in the Trump cabinet.

WASHINGTON, D.C., Feb. 6, 2017 – The American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) Board of Directors has approved a public policy agenda outlining the Institute’s aggressive pro-manufacturing policy strategies to guide advocacy for the upcoming year and highlight importance of the steel industry to the success of the American economy.

“The impact public policies have on manufacturers must be carefully considered to ensure economic growth and our national security. Our 2017 Public Policy Agenda highlights a concerted effort on behalf of members of the North American steel industry to combat foreign unfair trade practices, create jobs, highlight our innovations and sustainability, and strengthen the manufacturing base,” said Thomas J. Gibson, AISI president and CEO. “We will be sharing our priorities with policymakers and government leaders, and look forward to working together to turn obstacles into opportunities.”

Highlights AISI priorities for 2017 include:

  • Press China and other nations to eliminate their steel overcapacity and to end all subsidies; 
  • Enforce aggressively and expeditiously U.S. unfair trade laws;
  • Defend the right to treat China as a Non Market Economy at the WTO;
  • Improve the implementation of the ENFORCE Act against trade law evasion; 
  • Reduce the corporate tax rate to 15-20 percent while maintaining accelerated cost recovery;
  • Revise the Clean Power Plan and the New Source Performance Standard for utility GHG emissions;
  • Ensure the approval and completion of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines and facilitate investment in our national energy infrastructure;
  • Withdraw EPA’s final determination for the light duty vehicle GHG standards for model years 2022-2025; 
  • Ensure infrastructure funding is accompanied by reforms that streamline permitting and approval of large projects to speed project delivery time and reduce added cost; and, 
  • Direct increased funding of infrastructure improvements towards long-term, multi-year projects.

AISI serves as the voice of the North American steel industry in the public policy arena and advances the case for steel in the marketplace as the preferred material of choice. AISI also plays a lead role in the development and application of new steels and steelmaking technology. AISI is comprised of 18 member companies, including integrated and electric furnace steelmakers, and approximately 120 associate members who are suppliers to or customers of the steel industry. For more news about steel and its applications, view AISI’s website at


Chicago Business Barometer Reveals Weaker Q4

Tuesday, November 01, 2016 1:42 AM Written by

Economic activity in October lost some of the momentum gained in third quarter, according to the latest survey by MNI Indicators. The Chicago Business Barometer fell 3.6 points to a five month low of 50.6 in October. The three month moving average was at 52.1, down from 53.8 in September.

Production dropped 5.4 points from September’s nine month high and the new orders component of the Barometer fell to its lowest level since May. Backlogs remained in contraction although improving slightly. Inventory levels fell at the fastest pace since May 2016 and moved back into contraction. Supplier deliveries were at their lowest levels since June.

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