U.S. Steel announces layoffs in McKeesport

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U.S. Steel said Friday it is laying off more than half of the workforce at its tubular plant in McKeesport, citing competitive pressure from imports.

Spokeswoman Courtney Boone said the company will lay off 142 hourly workers represented by the United Steelworkers union in order to bring staffing in line with production levels. The company cannot speculate on when the employees might be brought back, she said.

About 95 workers will remain on the job. Ms. Boone said the company believes much of the import pressure comes from subsidized imports that violate trade laws. The mill welds sheet steel into tubes for energy and other markets and can produce 315,000 tons annually.

U.S. Steel's tubular business has benefitted from a boom in natural gas production from Marcellus Shale, a phenomenon chairman and CEO John P. Surma has called the best thing to happen to U.S. manufacturers over the last 25 years.

When the company forecast its fourth quarter outlook in October, U.S. Steel said it expected the tubular unit would remain profitable, but would post results much lower than the $102 million operating income it reported in the third quarter. It said prices would be lower and shipments would be significantly lower.

U.S. Steel shares closed Friday at $21.56, down 22 cents. They are off 19 percent this year.

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Len Boselovic: lboselovic@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1941.


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