Steel Capacity

October 24, 1947

Report Outline
National Production and the Supply of Steel
Estimates of Future Needs for Basic Steel
Long-Term Growth of Steel Capacity
Proposals for Insuring Adequate Steel Supply
Special Focus

National Production and the Supply of Steel

Calls for Expansion of Basic Steel Capacity

The long-continued postwar shortage of steel has given rise to sharp controversy over the ability and the willingness of the American steel industry to meet the requirements of an economy geared to full production and full employment. The industry attributes the shortage to an abnormal and temporary demand resulting from war-time dislocations. It hesitates to expand its productive capacity on anything like the scale called for by its critics because of the risk that steel demand will collapse in a postwar recession two or three years hence.

Uninterrupted production from existing facilities [Walter S. Tower, president of the American Iron and Steel Institute, said in June] should be more than capable of bringing supply into balance with demand. Present capacities, plus those now planned for completion over the next year, should meet every expectable demand in the near future.

Government economists, labor leaders, and spokesmen for industrial users of steel assert, on the other hand, that the present shortage is indicative of a long-term increase in basic steel requirements, which has not been given due weight by the steel producers. They insist that present steel capacity must be enlarged by at least 10 million tons if the normal demand of the next decade is to be filled. Henry J. Kaiser has said that “major expansion is direly needed”; the United Steelworkers have warned that a refusal of the industry to make large additions to its facilities would be “a gamble with America's future,” Henry A. Wallace has gone so far as to accuse the steel industry of “deliberately planning a reduction in production that will make a depression inevitable for us all.”

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