Artist’s rendering of the V&M plant when construction is complete
Canton Ohio — The Ohio steel industry, led by a drilling boom in the gas and oil industry and a resuscitated demand for cars and light trucks, is growing again. Steel makers across the state are racing to keep pace with plans to add a total of two million square feet of production space at a cost of $1.5 billion.
At the Timken Company’s mill here on Faircrest Street, orders for steel from domestic and export markets plunged so low in May 2009 that the plant operated just four days that month. Nearly three years later, with demand for steel soaring and the Faircrest mill operating around the clock, Timken has started building a $200 million, 83,000-square-foot addition that will increase the plant’s production.
“The need for specialty steel, much of it for oil and natural gas producers, is high in the United States and around the world,” said Salvatore J. Miraglia Jr., the president of Timken’s steel group. “We see demand in that market continuing to be healthy for quite some time…”
In October, United States Steel opened a $100 million, 325,000-square-foot mill at its Lorain plant to manufacture steel pipe for the drilling industry. Vallourec & Mannesmann, a French company, is completing a $650 million, 1.1 million-square-foot steel pipe mill in Youngstown, and is building a separate 200,000-square-foot mill nearby to add threads to the pipes. Both plants serve the oil and gas sector.
United States Steel is collaborating with a Japan-based partner, Kobe Steel, to build a $400 million, 454,000-square-foot addition to what is known as the Pro-Tec plant in Leipsic, south of Toledo, to serve the growing market for high-tensile lightweight steel used by makers of fuel-efficient vehicles.
“We haven’t had this kind of expansion in steel since the 1980s,” said Eric Burkland, the president of the Ohio Manufacturers’ Association. “It’s a tremendous turnaround.”
When all the projects are completed this year and next, those plants alone are expected to add roughly 630 new manufacturing jobs. The unemployment rate in Ohio was 7.5 percent in March, below the 8.2 percent national rate in March, and down from a statewide peak of 10.6 percent in July 2009…
Why do people keep telling me this can’t happen in the United States?