In many ways, steel is the backbone of American industry. Our buildings are supported by it and our cars are made from it. Because it is such an essential material, the steel industry has long been a major economic indicator. People invest less in new construction and development when the economy is bad, which lowers the demand for steel. When the economy is good and people are buying new cars and supporting new construction, the demand for steel increases. Globally, emerging markets are also requiring a lot of steel and are bolstering strong demand for the coming years as they build up their cities and infrastructure.
In the first three quarters of 2013, steel production has increased 2.7% globally year-over-year. The World Steel Association estimates a 3.1% increase in steel usage by the end of this year. In the U.S. specifically, steel companies are competing with new technologies and are learning how to trim production and cut costs to remain profitable. Companies such as Nucor, U.S. Steel, and ArcelorMittal are now purchasing more raw materials in house to manage expenses. Many steel makers are beginning to vertically integrate their businesses, “that means things like owning steel mills, iron ore operations, and coal mines. The goal is to be able to remove the middle men, and added costs, from the process of making steel. It’s a road that several of the industry’s biggest players have been going down,” notes Reuben Brewer in his article on the trend. Pucel Enterprises, like the steel mills, is continually striving to become more efficient and innovative in our endeavors, including our work with steel and stainless steel.