The United States’ largest steel producer is planning to lay off more than 700 workers, citing steep declines in oil prices.
Pittsburgh-based U.S. Steel said oil market conditions are reducing the demand for tubular steel products used in oil and natural gas exploration and production, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Most of the layoffs will come from an Ohio plant, while the remainder are in Texas.
“This action is a result of a decline in tubular market conditions, which is impacting demand for the plant’s products,” U.S. Steel wrote in a letter to workers.
The layoffs seem to have caught workers by surprise.
“What appeared just a few short weeks ago as being a productive year … has most abruptly turned sour,” Tom McDermott, president of the Ohio plant’s union, told workers, according to the Post-Gazette.
Crude oil futures started dipping below $50 a barrel in trading this week, caused largely by market oversupply around the world and falling demand in major economies.
That is causing some producers to curb their operations, reducing demand for steel and other products.
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