Automotive, oil and gas industries reinvigorate steel production in Ohio

One more sign of a rebounding economy is illuminated as steel plants open only four days during May of 2009, are now expanding their facilities to keep up with a robust demand from automotive, oil and gas industries.

Steelmakers in the midwestern state are planning to invest up to 1.5 billion dollars to expand their production facilities up to 2 million square feet just to fill the orders, according to an article by Keith Schneider in the New York Times.

The steel industry’s collapse essentially foreshadowed the problems the US auto industry experienced, though to a much greater degree. Nevertheless, their difficulties came from similar business errors – failure to prepare or even recognize the need for change, keep abreast of trends and compete in a global marketplace.

The US steel industry, once the industrial base on which men like Andrew Carnegie and J.P. Morgan built their considerable empires, began to collapse to foreign competition in the 1960’s. By the 1980’s the industry was in ruins as steel mills closed throughout the country, leaving thousands of workers not only unemployed but suffering from clinical depression, alcoholism and suicidal tendencies.

Though small mills have remained and even thrived in the interim, cannibalizing used steel to use in their forges; this is the first significant move to expand new US steel production in over 30 years.

It was Canton’s Timken Company that was idle 27 days in 2009, due to the lack of orders either foreign or domestic. Now the demand for oil and gas drilling, obviously connected to the US auto industry, is driving their business to such a degree they are adding an 80,000 sq. ft. addition at a cost of $200 million.


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