Lightweight materials like carbon fiber and aluminum are on their way to becoming the new darlings of the industrial world. Glass shortages and lack of infrastructure funding are halting the production of structures and buildings throughout the United States.
Unfair importing practices and sluggish prices from China, India, Italy, South Korea and Taiwan have decreased the market value of a wide range of materials, including this American standard.
There are a number of factors that are making 2015 a tough year to be in the U.S. steel industry. Although experts and optimists have said that domestic steel production may be down but not out, the American steel industry many be in some real trouble.
Plans To Consolidate And Cease Production
Recently, the United States Steel Corp. announced that may soon be consolidating its domestic flat-rolled operations, as well as temporarily idling its steelmaking operations and many of its finishing operations in Granite City.
While the company’s steelmaking practices will continue in Indiana, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, 2,000 Granite City Works employees are being issued notices of potential layoffs.
U.S. Steel, America’s second largest and the world’s 15th largest steel producer, has not given a timeline on its final decision, but the announcement is not a good sign in what has been a rough period for American steel production.
The Call For A Level Playing-Field
U.S. Steel cited fluctuating oil prices, challenges in the global market, and reduced rig counts among the key reasons for the possible production rollback and mass layoff.
Although there may not be much that U.S. steel producers can do to change industrial trends that favor new lightweight materials, the future of the American steel industry appears to lie with the global adoption of fair importing practices—something that U.S. based steel companies have collectively demanded.
Whether their calls for a level playing-field will be heard too little too late, if at all, it’s hard to say for sure.
Do you think the long-established American steel industry is in serious trouble? Will other companies have to face similarly difficult cutbacks as U.S. Steel Corp. is doing now? Share your thoughts in the comments.