Steel Blog

High Construction Demand, Low Worker Availability

Sunday, July 23, 2017 3:54 PM Written by
Published in Construction

A shortage of qualified job seekers resulted in only 25 states adding construction jobs between May and June despite strong industry demand, says the Associated General Contractors of America. Forty-one states added construction jobs between June 2016 and June 2017.

"Contractors in most of the country say they have plenty of projects booked and would like to hire more workers if they could find them, so it is likely that some states with monthly employment declines have a shortage of workers available to hire rather than a slowdown in work," said Ken Simonson, chief economist for the association. "Given the low unemployment rate in most states, other industries are competing hard for workers, making it difficult for contractors to find new construction workers, let alone experienced ones."

Registrations for our 2017 SMU Steel Summit Conference continue to roll in. Five weeks from today our 7th conference will begin, registrations topped 530 steel and manufacturing executives as of this morning (Monday, July 24). We have more than 240 companies registered to attend and we anticipate we will add more over the final 34 days. The conference, located at the Georgia International Convention Center, will be held over three days: August 28, 29 and 30.

There is no doubt, the SMU Steel Summit Conference is the fastest growing steel conference in North America. We also have the highest percentage of steel and manufacturing decision makers under one roof during those three days in August.

U.S./China Talks Unproductive

Thursday, July 20, 2017 1:40 PM Written by
Published in Trade Cases

Trade talks with China this week ended in a stalemate after the U.S. pressed for "more fair" trade terms. The discussions were described as "a frank exchange," but little if any agreement was reached on bilateral trade and economic issues, according to a senior U.S. official. A press conference following the meeting was canceled and no joint statement was issued.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said, "China acknowledged our shared objective to reduce the trade deficit, which both sides will work cooperatively to achieve."

We’re in for a good year ahead, says popular economist Alan Beaulieu of ITR Economics, who will be a keynote speaker during Steel Market Update’s 2017 Steel Summit Aug. 28-30 at the Georgia International Convention Center in Atlanta.

Previewing his remarks, ITR forecasts another six months of accelerating economic expansion for the U.S., followed by six more months of somewhat slower growth. “Use your rates-of-change and leading indicators to determine when your specific business will be impacted, and move forward with confidence knowing what is coming,” he recommends.

USW President Reacts to NAFTA Renegotiation

Wednesday, July 19, 2017 2:57 PM Written by
Published in Trade Cases

United Steelworkers International President Leo Gerard says the Trump administration's objectives for NAFTA don't go far enough.

In a statement following publication of the objectives by the U.S. Trade Representative, Gerard said that although the USW has long supported renegotiation of NAFTA, protection for workers in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico has been supplanted by corporate interests.

Drexel Metals, a custom metal fabricator and portfolio company of Arborview Capital, has been acquired by Carlisle Construction Materials. Drexel, headquartered in Louisville, Ky., is a leader in the residential and nonresidential architectural metal roofing segment with regional facilities in Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Colorado and Maryland.

The very first Steel Market Update Steel 101: Introduction to Steel Making & Market Fundamentals workshop did not include a mill tour. It was held in Houston and, even though the class was interesting and educational, a few of the attendees told us how much better it would have been if they could have toured a working steel mill. We listen to our attendees. The next Steel 101 workshop was in Chicago and included a tour of the NLMK Portage, Ind., minimill. On Oct. 4-5, 2017, we will conduct our 23rd Steel 101 workshop in Fort Wayne, Ind., and our friends at Steel Dynamics Inc. (SDI) are allowing our group to tour their Butler, Ind., mill to help us reinforce the steelmaking and rolling process.

SMU Launches ‘Ethics and Your Business’

Monday, July 17, 2017 1:40 PM Written by
Published in Steel Market Update

Is today’s contentious and acrimonious political climate having a negative effect on American business? Is the win-at-any-cost attitude in politics, so evident in everyday news reports, eroding ethical business practices in steel and other industries? Is it OK to bend the truth or to make up “fake news” to damage your competition?

The desire to do whatever it takes to be successful in business is nothing new. (Case in point: Gordon Gekko, who proclaimed “Greed is Good” in the ’80s depiction of Wall Street.) But there’s a thin line between success and unethical behavior, and it’s hard to determine if it’s moving in a positive or negative direction.

SMU Rolls Out New, Improved Events App

Saturday, July 15, 2017 5:31 PM Written by

The 2017 SMU Steel Summit Conference Events App is now available for all attendees, sponsors and exhibitors to download and use. The App is where you find all the most up-to-date information about the conference, what you work from to network with other attendees and what you will use to get the speaker presentations after the conference is over. To get the most out of the SMU Steel Summit Conference experience, you will want to download and use the SMU Events App.

Welcome to the mobile era. When you attend Steel Market Update events, you can be armed with a tablet or smartphone and have a much better, and more productive, conference experience. Everything is at your fingertips: a detailed conference agenda, list of speakers with biographical information, a complete list of the attendees, sponsors and exhibitors, and more. You can take notes as you go and, importantly, you can connect, engage and follow up with other attendees in ways you have not been able to do in the past. You can search through the attendee list and find those you would like to contact, send an email to meet later or forward company information with ease. And, with the SMU Events App, social media is integrated, as well. You can tweet or post to Facebook or LinkedIn during the event without leaving the App, interacting with others quickly and efficiently.

We continue to develop new and better ways to simplify and enhance your conference experience.

Each year, more and more of our attendees use the SMU Events App. At the 2016 SMU Steel Summit Conference, 80 percent of the attendees downloaded the App. Last year, the most popular features were the ability to access others attending the conference and viewing the agenda. We also found more people accessing the speaker PowerPoint presentations through the App. During the conference, we used the polling feature for the first time. That’s when we discovered twice as many of our attendees supported Donald Trump than Hillary Clinton. Our attendees got some early insight on who would be the next president months before the election.

ArcelorMittal Cleveland General Manager Retires

Thursday, July 13, 2017 3:14 PM Written by
Published in ArcelorMittal

ArcelorMittal Cleveland General Manager Eric Hague retired June 30, 2017, after 42 years in the Cleveland steel industry.

Hauge was instrumental in preserving the blast furnaces when former owner LTV closed the plant in 2001. Instead of a warm idling of the furnaces, Hauge suggested a controversial cold shut down to preserve them from the harsh winter conditions in Cleveland. Hague was always confident that a buyer would be found and the plant would be revived.