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In a 62-page briefing paper—Surging Steel Imports Put Up to Half a Million U.S. Jobs at Risk—that Terence P. Stewart, Elizabeth J. Drake, Stephanie M. Bell, Jessica Wang and Robert E. Scott authored for the Economic Policy Institute, the picture ain't pretty. Here's an excerpt from the executive summary:

The U.S. steel industry is facing its worst import crisis in more than a decade. In the aftermath of the Great Recession, steelmakers in other countries, backed by aggressive government support, continued to add production capacity as demand stagnated. The open and large U.S. market became the prime target for the massive excess supply stemming from this excess capacity, and, since 2011, U.S. steel imports have surged and import unit values have plummeted.

    • Global excess steel capacity is now over half a billion metric tons, more than twice the volume of excess capacity in the last steel import crisis that followed the Asian financial crisis more than a decade ago. While China accounts for more than a third of global excess capacity, there is also significant overcapacity in South Korea, India, and elsewhere. With more additions planned overseas and a continued slow recovery in demand, the excess capacity problem is not projected to be resolved any time soon.

    • Excess capacity means that steel production facilities have the capacity to produce much more steel than the market demands. High fixed costs, capital intensity, and the large scale of steelmaking encourages state-backed producers with excess capacity to maintain production in excess of domestic demand, and export the surplus at below-market rates.

    • The glut of exports from global excess steel supply is targeted in particular at the U.S. market. U.S. steel imports increased from 28.5 million net tons in 2011 to 32.0 million net tons in 2013, an increase of 12.3 percent. Imports have increased not only in absolute terms, but also relative to domestic production and consumption, seizing more of the U.S. market and thwarting the domestic industry’s efforts to recover from the Great Recession.

    • U.S. steel imports surged even more sharply in the first two months of 2014, hitting 6.4 million net tons, an increase of 24.5 percent over the same period in 2013. Domestic shipments declined 0.9 percent over the same period. Consequently, the import share of the domestic market increased 4.5 percentage points in January–February 2014 (an increase of 18.5 percent over the same period in 2013).

    • Evidence that imported steel prices are falling, and falling unfairly, can be found in the declining sales price of imports (now underselling comparable domestic products) and the rapid growth in the number of unfair trade complaints filed in the past year. The average unit value of imported steel declined $259 per ton (23.1 percent) between 2011 and January–February 2014. U.S. steel producers filed 40 antidumping and countervailing duty petitions in 2013 and the first two months of 2014, the largest volume of trade cases in steel since 2001.

Surging imports of unfairly traded steel are threatening U.S. steel production, which supports more than a half million U.S. jobs across every state of the nation. The import surge has depressed domestic steel production and revenues, leading to sharp declines in net income in the U.S. steel industry over the past two years (2012–2013), layoffs for thousands of workers, and reduced wages for many more.

Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2005The Extremist Agenda: The Judiciary:

What is the work that James Dobson sock puppet Senator Frist will do for the extremists in control of the Republican Party? Very simple - they want extremist judges AND Supreme Court Justices who will:

(1) Overturn Roe v. Wade, destroying a women's right to choose. To be followed by a federal law banning all abortions.

(2) Eviscerate the separation of church and state. To be followed by continued attacks on science and the imposition of the teaching of one belief system in the classroom. Creationism as science.

(3) Strip existing legal protections of the environment through judicially activist interpretations of federal law.

(4) Eliminate workers and union rights.

(5) Weaken civil rights protections through outlandish and unfounded readings of the Constitution and federal civil rights laws. End affirmative action, shred employment discrimination laws. Legalize discrimination against gays. […]

Tweet of the Day:

'Just let it be," Sulzberger tells entire room of professional reporters. 'Don't go speculating or trying to find out what happened.'

On today's Kagro in the Morning show, a few sample stories reminding us to Respect Gun Culture. Greg Dworkin mansplains mansplaining, notes why Bonkersghazi has some Rs nervous, Rand Paul's walkback on voter ID, and hypocritical coal politics. Will the Beltway get over Bonkersghazi? Joan McCarter joins us with Idaho marriage equality news! NE's Senate Gop nominee says it's OK to ignore laws because religion, and that leads us to some discussion of the national security legal state of play, plus their horrible design sense. We keep an eye out for "American Spring!" Doctor Who catches a great Senate procedure story, with Harry Reid as the hero.

High Impact Posts. Top Comments.

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