How’s the Steel Industry Doing?

I wonder how the steel industry is doing these days. Why? Just curious, I guess. Here are the basic stats for production and capacity utilization:

This looks OK. It’s nothing to write home about, but production has increased moderately over the past couple of years and is now about where it was in 2015. But what we really want to know is how this has affected workers and shareholders. Here’s employment in the “primary metals” industry:

This isn’t so great. Employment has increased a bit since 2017, but it’s not growing any faster than the overall economy—and that didn’t change after President Trump announced his steel tariffs in early 2018. How about wages?

Yikes. That’s pretty dismal. Wages for everyone else have been steadily increasing, but for metals workers they’ve been down ever since Trump took office. So what do investors think of the steel sector?

Yikes again. The steel sector was growing at about the same rate as the S&P 500 until Trump announced his steel tariffs. Since then, the S&P 500 is up about 13 percentage points while the steel sector is down about 10 points.

Bottom line: We’re making a bit more steel than we were two years ago, but employment is pretty stagnant, wages are down, and investors have soured on the whole industry. They don’t seem to have much confidence that tariffs are going to do any good going forward.

There’s a lesson here: Every industry that Trump touches ends up worse off. Whatever sector you happen to work in, you should pray daily that Trump ignores you.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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