Steel crisis
The steel crisis was a recession in the global steel
Steel is an alloy that consists mostly of iron and has a carbon content between 0.2% and 2.1% by weight, depending on the grade. Carbon is the most common alloying material for iron, but various other alloying elements are used, such as manganese, chromium, vanadium, and tungsten...

 market during the 1970s recession, following the end of the post-World War II economic boom and the 1973 oil crisis
1973 oil crisis
The 1973 oil crisis started in October 1973, when the members of Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries or the OAPEC proclaimed an oil embargo. This was "in response to the U.S. decision to re-supply the Israeli military" during the Yom Kippur war. It lasted until March 1974. With the...


Steel production had increased exponentially since the industrial revolution
Industrial Revolution
The Industrial Revolution was a period from the 18th to the 19th century where major changes in agriculture, manufacturing, mining, transportation, and technology had a profound effect on the social, economic and cultural conditions of the times...

, and demand had been especially high during the world wars. Steel prices significantly dropped as the market became saturated with steel, and many steel mills in the Western world were driven out of business.

Some areas affected by the steel crisis were the Rust belt
Rust Belt
The Rust Belt is a term that gained currency in the 1980s as the informal description of an area straddling the Midwestern and Northeastern United States, in which local economies traditionally garnered an increased manufacturing sector to add jobs and corporate profits...

 in North America, the English Midlands
English Midlands
The Midlands, or the English Midlands, is the traditional name for the area comprising central England that broadly corresponds to the early medieval Kingdom of Mercia. It borders Southern England, Northern England, East Anglia and Wales. Its largest city is Birmingham, and it was an important...

 in the United Kingdom, the Ruhr area
Ruhr Area
The Ruhr, by German-speaking geographers and historians more accurately called Ruhr district or Ruhr region , is an urban area in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. With 4435 km² and a population of some 5.2 million , it is the largest urban agglomeration in Germany...

 in West Germany and Bergslagen
Bergslagen is a historically, culturally, and linguistically distinct mining district located north of Lake Mälaren in northern Svealand, Sweden. In Bergslagen mining and metallurgic industry have been important since the Middle Ages...

in Sweden.


In Britain, according to Blair (1997) the industry was again nationalized in 1967, under the Labour government. But British Steel (BSC) had serious problems, including complacency with existing obsolescent plant; plants operating under capacity and thus at low efficiency); outdated technology; price controls that reduced marketing flexibility; soaring coal and oil costs; lack of capital investment funds; and increasing competition on the world market. By the 1970s the government adopted a policy of keeping employment artificially high in the declining industry. This especially impacted BSC since it was a major employer in a number of depressed regions. In the 1980s under the Conservatives BSC was re-privatized as British Steel. Under private control the company sharply cut its work force, made a radical reorganization, and injected a huge capital investment to again become competitive in the world marketplace.
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