Steel lightens your work, brightens your leisure, and widens your world.
This was message that accompanied the launch of the iconic Steelmark logo by U.S. Steel in 1960. Originating as a component of a marketing campaign to educate consumers about the importance of steel in our daily lives, today the Steelmark logo is a highly recognizable symbol of the American steel industry—and even a certain football team from Pittsburgh.
On Nov. 2, 1966, by a joint resolution approved by Congress, the month of May became officially known as Steelmark Month in recognition of the workers in America’s steel industry and the role steel plays in daily life.
Ryerson celebrates Steelmark month by honoring the role that steel plays today in economic prosperity, jobs creation, and the realization of modern, more sustainable future.
Steel: An Engine of Economic Prosperity
An analysis from AISI showed that more than $520 billion in economic output can be linked to the steel industry. Industrial metals have marked humankind’s progress from the Bronze Age through today. There are 500 million people in North America all of whom seek a better quality of life. Industrial metals help to create that better quality of life, as an essential material in the creation of next-generation transportation and infrastructure solutions, as well as the necessary products to ensure our safety and security.
That latter role of metal was front and center throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. From respirators to hospital beds, and from food processing equipment to storage tanks, many of the products that help keep the world’s population safe and healthy relied on metal.
To those working in the steel industry, that sense of pride was indeed evident.
"Even though I can’t stand on the front lines with the doctors, nurses, and first responders, I feel honored that I am able to help during this crisis. I feel it is my duty as an American to help our people and nation in any way possible during these times. It fills my heart with pride that I am able to contribute,” said Scotty Ness a third shift loader at the Ryerson facility in Plymouth, Minnesota.
Read more about the role steel played in the pandemic here.
Steel: A Catalyst for Jobs Creation
The average salary of a steel worker in the United States, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, is roughly $64,800. This puts the average steel worker right at the heart of the American middle class.
A recent study from market research firm IBIS ranked the U.S. iron and steel manufacturing industry as the 407th largest in the country in terms of employment. It is estimated that more than 65,000 people are currently employed in the U.S. iron and steel manufacturing industry. Unfortunately, this is a number that has declined roughly 5.9% on average since 2018.
As a result, declining employment in the U.S. iron and steel market has a direct impact to a decline in the middle class. And the residual effects can be felt across the entire U.S. economy.
According to the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI), jobs created by the iron and steel industry account for more than $130 billion in wages and benefits. These workers in turn put money back into the economy in the form of housing, food, educational services, medical care and more. AISI calls this the “induced impact” of the steel industry and estimates its impact accounts for roughly $143 billion, while generating 878,000 jobs paying $45 billion in wages and benefits.
Considering supplier and induced impacts in addition to direct impacts, the steel industry is responsible for 1.98 million U.S. jobs, paying $131.26 billion in wages and salaries annually, while generating $522.59 billion in industry output and $55.86 billion in federal, state, and local taxes.
Steel: Essential to a Sustainable Society
Industrial metals, by their very nature, are infinitely recyclable and are some of the most recycled materials on the planet. It is an essential and integral part of the circular economy and our future. Each year in the United States, 60-80 million tons of steel scrap are recycled into new steel products. Each year, according to AISI, enough steel scrap is recycled to create 25 Eiffel Towers every day.
But that’s just the beginning of the story. AISI calls the American steel industry the cleanest and most energy-efficient of the leading steel industries in the world. And it’s getting cleaner.
More steel makers are moving from blast furnace manufacturing to electric arc furnace (EAF), which has up to 75% lower CO2e intensity. Because Ryerson procures nearly all its materials from domestic mills, over 70% of our stainless and carbon products are from EAF mills, reflective of North American production.
Further, according to the World Steel Association, “steel is the most recycled material on the planet.” Because it can be recycled again and again without losing its inherent properties, producing toxic run-off, or consuming water, steel products are an essential and integral part of the circular economy and a sustainable future.
In 2022, Ryerson reintroduced over 70,000 tons of metal back into the circular economy by recycling it with our scrap partners.
More than 60 years following its release, the iconic Steelmark logo continues to represent the role that metal plays in our everyday lives. As society strives to build to the greatest heights of our imagination, and the narrative that it's time to build continues to resonate, that message is perhaps more important than ever.
Ryerson: The Metal Supplier of Choice
Ryerson is a leading North American metal supplier that provides more than just metal. We respond to the ever-changing needs of manufacturing today.
With a vast inventory of steel, stainless, aluminum, alloy, and more, we are committed to providing our customers with the metal and services they need to succeed. We stock a range of shapes and sizes, or we can provide processing and fabrication for every product we sell.
Order online at Ryerson.com for comprehensive pricing and fast delivery, or contact us today to learn more about how we can meet your metal needs.