Main content

Operating context

ArcelorMittal’s operations in the United States are influenced heavily by external factors in the global economy. Challenging economic factors in the industry since the Great Recession continue to affect our business today, most notably global overcapacity in China. 
{41230756-92A8-4708-AC76-DC0437EFAAAE} Operating context {63FFE4A7-C093-479C-872D-D750B5B61CDB}

Understanding the domestic steel industry

The charts and graphs below are statistics regarding the steel industry in the United States. 



U.S. domestic steel shipments: 1976-2016

The Great Recession of 2008-2009 produced a devastating low in U.S. domestic steel shipments. In 2016, domestic steel producers shipped 86.5 million net tons. While flat compared to 2015, and 43 percent higher than 2009, shipments are still 18 percent lower than the pre-crisis average of 106 million net tons from 2000-2007.



 

Steel production vs. employment in the United States: 2000-2016

Steelmaking processes have transformed at a rapid pace, reflecting the industry’s improvement in operating practices and investment in state-of-the-art equipment to increase productivity. Since 2000, employment in the domestic steel industry has declined from 135,000 to 83,600 in 2016. 


 

US raw steel production and capacity utilization: 2000-2016

Another major indicator of the health of the domestic steel industry is capacity utilization. In the six years prior to 2008, capacity utilization levels averaged 89 percent. During the Great Recession of 2008-2009, capacity utilization dropped to just 51.5 percent in 2009. Since then, it has averaged only 73.6 percent. In fact, raw steel output in the United States fell to its lowest levels since 2009 in 2015 and 2016. This is largely due to global overcapacity and a surge of imports flooding the U.S. market in 2014 and beyond.



 

US raw steel production - integrated vs. mini-mill: 1995-2016

Since 1995, integrated steelmakers have lost their dominant share of U.S. raw steel production to mini-mills. Blast furnace production share declined from 60 percent in 1995 to 33 percent in 2016. In 1990, blast furnace share was 63 percent; in 1980, the share was 72 percent. This graph visually illustrates the rise in popularity of of electric arc furnace technology – which offers flexibility, quick turnaround time and lower fixed costs – to integrated steelmaking. It is important to note that while electric arc furnace technology is becoming increasingly popular, blast furnaces still play a critical role in producing value-added products, especially in the automotive sector. The blast furnace share of overall steel production fell to 33 percent in 2016, down from 37 percent in 2015.