Business Forward’s Latest American Steel Index Report: Escalating Trade War Threatens 460,000 jobs

This week, we published our latest American Steel Index report. The monthly report compares the prices American manufacturers and their foreign competitors pay for hot- and cold-rolled steel.

U.S. steel prices have risen 14.8 percent since February, while competitors’ prices have fallen 3.2 percent. Key charts are below. Click HERE to read the report.

The index helps demonstrates three important points about today’s steel tariffs:

  • Buyers in the U.S. are paying higher prices, while prices in competing markets are falling.
  • The resulting price difference has a disproportionate impact on manufacturers in competitive markets (where margins are thin).
  • Comparatively higher steel prices are having a disproportionate impact on manufacturers that export, and those manufacturers are the ones America needs most.

“Putting steelmakers ahead of manufacturers is backfiring,” said Business Forward President Jim Doyle. “Companies that buy steel employ 46 times more workers across the U.S. than companies that produce steel.”

The Tax Foundation, which has measured the potential impact of both new and threatened tariffs, estimates employment could fall by 459,816.

Since President Trump announced his plans for steel and aluminum tariffs in February, prices in the U.S. for hot- and cold-rolled steel have risen 17.8 percent and 12.3 percent, respectively. During that same time, prices in the UK, Italy, China, Germany and Japan are down 2.9 and 3.5 percent, respectively. As a result, U.S. manufacturers are paying 18.4 percent more for hot- and cold-rolled steel, on average.

The dollar difference between steel prices in the U.S. and in competing markets has nearly doubled since February (1.9 times larger).