Granite City businesses feel effects of steel mill’s revival

Citing U.S. steel tariffs, a steel mill in Granite City, Illinois, will once again become fully operational, nearly doubling its production by October.

Granite City Works, which is owned by Pittsburgh-based United States Steel, brings in iron by train from Minnesota. At the plant, iron is melted and combined with scrap steel and other ingredients. The plant, which shut down one of its two blast furnaces due to lack of demand two years ago, will restart its second furnace and hire 300 new employees to run it — bringing total employment at the facility to about 1,500.

Some positive effects are already being felt in Granite City due to the plant’s revival. The Petri Café, a restaurant down the street from the plant, has reported a boost in business from serving plant workers. Holt Shoe Shop, a nearby shoe store, also reported increased economic activity. Laura Smith, Holt Shoe Shop’s co-owner, said the store’s revenue is 20 to 30 percent higher than last year.

But economists caution that more industries are steel buyers than steel producers, so the higher price could ultimately hurt overall employment. The largest nail manufacturer in the U.S. — located in Poplar Bluff — has said that the higher cost of steel imported from Mexico may force it to close.

Read more: St. Louis Post-Dispatch


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