FILE PHOTO: An entrance to the U.S. Steel Great Lakes Works plant is seen in Ecorse, Michigan, U.S., September 24, 2019. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook/File Photo
CHICAGO (Reuters) – United States Steel Corp plans to lay off as many as 1,545 workers at its Great Lakes Works facility in the electoral swing state of Michigan following its decision to indefinitely idle a “significant” portion of the facility.
Domestic steel prices, after rising in the immediate aftermath of President Donald Trump’s crackdown on foreign imports, have fallen amid weakening demand from the auto and other manufacturing sectors.
Steel production at the plant will stop around April 1 and the hot-strip mill rolling facility will cease operations before the end of next year, the company said in a statement late Thursday.
The latest layoffs come months after the company decided to temporarily let go of 48 employees at the facility and warned of up to 200 more layoffs.
In 2016, Trump defied the odds to win Michigan by less than 11,000 votes. But with its factories now shedding thousands of jobs, the state is seen up for grabs in 2020.
The Pittsburgh-based company attributed the move to weak demand, lower steel prices as well as strategic alignment of its footprint.
Prices of hot-rolled coil are down 41% from their 2018 peak, hurting the profits of American steel companies. U.S. Steel, which saw a record profit in 2018 on soaring steel prices, reported a loss in the latest quarter on slowing demand.
On Thursday, the company said it expects a wider-than-expected loss in the fourth quarter.
U.S. Steel’s stock was last trading down 10.4% at $11.96. The company’s shares have plunged 75% since March 1, 2018, when Trump announced his decision to crack down on foreign imports.
Reporting by Rajesh Kumar Singh; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama