U.S. Steel idled a blast furnace and is idling a tin line at Gary Works, its flagship steel mill in the company town of Gary it built more than a century ago.

The Pittsburgh-based steelmaker said both idlings are temporary and due to current market conditions.

No workers are being laid off as a result of either idling, United Steelworkers Union District 7 Director Mike Millsap said.

Workers are being transferred to other parts of the sprawling mill that extends across seven miles of Lake Michigan lakefront at 1 N. Broadway in Gary.

"Blast furnace 8 at Gary Works was temporarily idled due to market conditions, including continued high import levels," U.S. Steel spokeswoman Amanda Malkowski said. "We continue to monitor market conditions and plan to bring the furnace back online when business conditions allow. There are no job losses associated with the idling. Employees have been assigned to other areas at Gary Works."

Blast Furnace No. 8 can produce up to 1.5 million tons of iron annually that's then turned into steel for a variety of products, such as cars, appliances and building components.

U.S. Steel also is temporarily idling the No. 5 tin line at Gary Works, which can produce 140,000 tons of tin products a year for soup, canned vegetables, paint buckets and other products.

Steel prices hit record highs last year in the United States, including of $1,725 a ton for hot-rolled steel coil. But steel prices have plunged 45% this year amid a slow economy, continued supply chain snags, inflationary pressure and the easing off on tariffs to try to help consumers deluged by higher prices.

Steel imports are up 10.4% so far this year while imports of finished products have skyrocketed by 31.8%, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute.
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