The U.S. labor market grew as expected in August, adding 526,000 jobs. Over the last three months, job gains have averaged 378,000; while in 2019, monthly job gains stood at just 164,000.
In the second quarter, the U.S. economy contracted at a more moderate pace than initially thought as an increase in consumer spending weakened the drag from a sharp slowdown in inventory accumulation.
GDP decreased at a 0.6% annualized rate last quarter, an upward revision from the previously estimated 0.9% pace of decline. The economy contracted at a 1.6% rate in the first quarter.
The Architecture Billings Index registered at 51.0 for July, this is the fourth straight month with a lower score than the previous month. However, any score above 50 still indicates an increase in firm billings.
The August Purchasing Managers Index registered at 52.8%. This is the same reading as the previous month and indicates an expansion in the overall economy for the 27th consecutive month.
Stainless steel prices continue to struggle as we approach the final quarter of the year. Meanwhile, nickel prices float just above their 2021 average. This seems to indicate an overly cautious marketplace with buyers and sellers appearing to want to wait to see what the other will do.
USS-Posco Industries (UPI) is closing its doors in 2023. The manufacturer of hot rolled P&O, cold rolled, and hot-dipped galvanized products, has reportedly sold the facility to Amazon for use as a warehouse.
With an annual capacity of 1.5 million short tons, this will narrow overall U.S. steel capacity. However, the domestic market is still dealing with a supply glut which has led to falling prices for HRC, CRC, and HDG since late April.
The steel supply chain in China is facing massive obstacles. Electricity rationing due to a heat wave and muted demand driven by the country’s construction crisis stand in the path of growth.
Steel mills were once in the forefront of China’s economic expansion. Now, conditions have deteriorated to the point that many mills are on the verge of closure for lack of takers. The Chinese government has yet to announce any bailouts for the industry.
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