Boost from Shale Gas Biz Proving Short-lived for Many Northeast Ohio Steel Workers

Tubes made by US Steel
Tubes made by US Steel
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Two words: gas prices. The steel industry has benefited from the rise of shale gas production in the last decade; wells and pipelines and other infrastructure use a lot of steel.

Now, with a glut of gas and declining prices, the oil and gas business is slowing, and steel along with it. Steel producers are now shedding jobs they’ve added over the last decade. Northeast Ohio’s plants are no exception.

"Obviously by the layoffs, you can see how many people were added to the industry," said Iryna Lendel, with the Center for Economic Development at Cleveland State University.

"However, this industry is cyclical," she said. Lendel is optimistic that as businesses like manufacturing use more low-cost gas, the oil and gas industry will eventually grow again – and start buying more steel.

That’s cold comfort, though, for hundreds of Lorain’s steelworkers who don’t know when – or if – they might go back to work.

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