The Iron and Steel Industry

May 1, 1930

Report Outline
Development of the Iron and Steel Industry
Tariffs on Iron and Steel
Consolidations in the Steel Industry
Steel Prices and Steel Profits
Special Focus

Basic Steel production during the first quarter of 1930 fell 12 per cent below that of the first quarter of 1929. During January-February-March of this year American steel mills operated at about 80 per cent of their capacity, which a few years ago would have been considered a highly satisfactory record. During the corresponding period of 1929, however, the mills operated at more than 90 per cent of capacity.

1929 Steel ingot production (gross tons) Per cent of capacity in operation 1930 Steel ingot production (gross tons) Per cent of capacity in operation
January 4,490,343 84.80 January 3,786,450 71.51
February 4,326,011 91.91 February 4,067,971 86.43
March 5,058,258 99.20 March 4,288,985 84.42
  13,874,612 91.88   12,143,406 80.42

In 1929 the American steel industry had the largest output in its history and earned the largest profits of any peace-time year. In the six months from April to September, 1929, operations averaged 95.98 per cent of capacity. In October, the month of the stock market crash, they dropped to 85.21 per cent; in November, to 68.90 per cent; and in December, to a low of 59.07 per cent. The rise during January and February, 1930, was taken as forecasting an early return of general business to prosperity levels.

Pig iron prices broke badly during February, and prices of finished steel continued the decline that had begun six months earlier. In March, which is usually a month of seasonal expansion, there was a slight falling off in the rate of steel mill operation. However, at the end of the month the United States Steel Corporation announced unfilled orders of 4,570,653 tons, the largest quarter-end volume of unfinished business since December 31,1925. Large buyers, while placing orders for steel, apparently were not pressing for deliveries, for steel mill operations, as reported weekly by Iron Age, showed a further decline to about 77 per cent of capacity during April. Nevertheless, recent production has been at the rate of nearly 50,000,000 tons of steel ingots a year which is about as large as in 1928, and is larger than the output of any previous year.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Steel Industry
Mar. 05, 1982  Rebuilding the Nation's Steel Industry
Jul. 07, 1971  Steel Settlement
Jan. 06, 1965  Steel Wages and Prices
Dec. 27, 1962  Fortunes of the Steel Industry
Oct. 24, 1947  Steel Capacity
Sep. 02, 1944  Revision of the Little Steel Formula
Jul. 18, 1938  The Price of Steel
Aug. 19, 1933  The Steel Industry and Recovery
May 01, 1930  The Iron and Steel Industry
Manufacturing and Industrial Production