A new report from Majestic Steel reviewing last week's steel production shows that COVID-19 isn't slowing down operations domestically or globally. Accoding to the report, global steel production increased slightly in August, the fourth consecutive month-over-month increase, and domestic raw steel production has climbed 13 out of the last 15 weeks.

Global Steel Production

On the global front, China is driving steel production numbers, which "increased to another record monthly high" in their country. 

"Global steel production increased to 156.2 million metric tons, up 0.9 percent from 154.9 million metric tons in July. August also marked the first year-over-year increase since February. Chinese production increased to 94.8 million metric tons in August, up 1.6 percent from July. Production from the rest of the world was actually down from July, sliding 0.2 percent to 61.4 million metric tons."

Domestic Raw Steel Production

At home, domestic steel production continues to fall behind the levels set last year. According to the report, steel production in the United States was down 24.4 percent from August last year. 

"U.S. mills produced an estimated 1,446k tons at a 64.5 percent utilization rate; this is down from 1,459k tons and a 65.1 percent rate previously. Production has still climbed over 25 percent since bottoming in mid- May. Production decreased in four of the five regions, with the largest drop (in tons) coming from the Southern region. Production from the Southern region slid from 565k tons to 553k tons. Year-to-date production remains 20.7 percent below the same timeframe from last year."

Jobless Claims

The unemployement rate is usually a good barometer for the overall health of the economy, which is why economists obsess over the number. According to Majestic's report jobless claims increased slightly last week but stayed below 1 million for the fifth time since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. 

"The Department of Labor’s Weekly Initial Jobless Claims report came in at 870,000 claims, up from 866,000 claims previously. The four-week moving average, considered a better measure of the labor market as it irons out week-to-week volatility, decreased to 878,250, from 913,500 claims previously."

The report continues, "Continuing claims, or claims lasting longer than one week, decreased, now down seven out of the last eight weeks. Continuing claims slid to 12.580 million, down from 12.747 million previously. At the state level, New York and Georgia saw the biggest week-overweek increases in initial claims. Claims in New York jumped by more than 9,000 last week and first- time filers in Georgia rose by more than 6,000."

In addition to the tidbits reported above, the report also includes an architectural billings index, new home sales and existing home sales. View the full report here.

For more information on the steel market, visit the steel reports section of SNIPSmag.com.