CHICAGO Responding to
market conditions, ArcelorMittal Indiana Harbor has placed
about 155 hourly employees on a 32-hour workweek.
The Eact Chicago, Ind., mill,
which is part of Chicago-based ArcelorMittal USA, produces
special bar quality (SBQ) products in 1000, 1100 and 1200
"The company anticipates
returning to normal operations once market demand can sustain
full operations," a spokeswoman told AMM Tuesday. The
company did not respond to requests for comment about how the
action will impact production levels.
Each of the affected employees
has less than three years service with ArcelorMittal.
During earnings calls in recent
weeks, other publicly held SBQ manufacturers have discussed the
slowdown in demand and reduction in capacity utilization, which
had been rising for 18 months on the strength of orders from
automotive and heavy equipment manufacturers.
At Canton, Ohio-based Timken
Co., reduced demand for commodities translated into lower
demand for mining and oil and gas drilling equipment, which
hurt steel business revenue, president and chief executive
officer Jim Griffith said late last month (
amm.com, Oct. 25). The U.S. supply chain contains
excess bar inventory, including imports, according to
Executives at Fort Wayne,
Ind.-based Steel Dynamics Inc. agree. "Yellow goods (heavy
equipment) have taken a quick inventory assessment and are
constricting their consumption at this moment," said Richard P.
Teets, president and chief operating officer for steel. He also
cited falling drill rig counts as a harbinger of lower steel
"There certainly has been some
slowing in some of the markets (for) SBQ," John Ferriola,
president and chief operating officer of Charlotte, N.C.-based
Nucor Corp., told investors recently. "Heavy trucks are off ...
from the peak (of) a few months ago. In other areas, (there is)
still significant strength. Automotive would be one
ArcelorMittals Long Carbon
business in North America shipped 1.03 million tons of steel,
including SBQ, in the third quarter, down 14.7 percent from the
second quarter and 13.4 percent below a year earlier.