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U.S. Steel to idle two plants, cut up to 770 jobs amid oil price rout

U.S. Steel Corp., the country’s second-biggest producer of the metal, said it will dismiss as many as 770 workers and idle two plants that make products used in oil drilling as energy companies cutproduction.

U.S. Steel may cut as many as 450 union-represented jobs at its Lone Star Tubular Operations in eastern Texas and 200 at its Fairfield, Alabama, site, the company said in an emailed statement Friday. Pittsburgh-based U.S. Steel is idling Lone Star on Friday, and Fairfield in April. About 120 non-represented positions were cut at those and other locations.

U.S. energy companies have slashed capital spending as oil and gas prices have tumbled. Wood Mackenzie has tracked $91 billion in capital-expenditure cuts in 2016 at 121 companies, the consulting company said via twitter on March. 11. U.S. Steel is among suppliers who have also suffered, cutting production at tube-making facilities from Ohio to Texas as demand and prices have dropped. Workers at the two sites were notified of potential layoffs in January.

A year ago, U.S. Steel said it would temporarily idle an Illinois factory making flat-rolled steel, citing adverse market conditions including cheap imports and lower oil prices. The company said at the time it had notified 2,080 workers at the Granite City plant about potential dismissals.

U.S. Steel’s sales in its tubular division, typically the most profitable, posted an operating loss of $179 million in 2015 as sales plunged by 68%.

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