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Steel Industry Operating Capacity Grows By Two-Thirds

Steel mills are showing signs of recovery, the Wall Street Journal reported yesterday. Overall, the country's steel mills are operating at 70 percent to 75 percent capacity, an increase from 2008, when they operated overall at only 40 to 45 percent capacity. Based on these figures, steel producers are expected to return to profit this quarter.

"We are seeing in some sectors a much stronger uptick: Dan DiMicco, CEO of Nucor Corporation, told the Journal. "We are optimistic, but we are cautiously optimistic."

Steel manufacturers across the country are reporting growth. Welspun Corporation is boosting production at its Little Rock plant to 24 hours a day, and plans to hire 230 more workers to make oil and gas pipelines. Energy companies anticipating growing energy demands are helping to build up the steel industry with increased orders.

Vallourec, another steel producer, is also growing its Youngstown, Ohio facility. But not all companies are being lifted. U.S. Steel Corporation has recorded consecutive quarters of losses. Residential and commercial construction has remained slow.

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