KILLEEN, TX — A lot of industries took a hit during the pandemic and now some, like the steel industry, are taking another one as the economy bounces back.
The cost of steel dropped as the world shut down last year, but now that many places are open again the price has skyrocketed. The supply isn’t able to catch up to demand and not just because of economic rebound.
”Because of the pandemic, more people are working at home. They are doing business at home so, the housing market is very, very hot across the whole nation. So the housing market is also contributing to the high price of steel,“ said Dr. Huaibing Yu, Ph.D. visiting Assistant Professor of Finance, Texas A&M University Central Texas
The prices have tripled that of the 20-year average and small businesses as well as their customers, are feeling the hit.
”You buy your steel for your building that were $2 a running foot are now $4 and sometimes more than $4 and that’s just a big hit for your customers to have to take”said Steven McGinley, Owner of Metal Visions in Belton.
Small businesses like Metal Visions said it's also making it hard to keep material in stock.
”It’s just getting material in. Every supplier in the area is telling us the same thing, it’s subject to change. The price is subject to be increased weekly and availability isgetting really scarce.” said McGimley.
Experts believe this won't last long but if it does, the U.S. will see the prices of other products rise because of steel prices.
”If we have a prolonged high price in steel then that will be a contributing factor in high price of cars and other finished products.” said Dr. Yu.
A long-term increase in prices is hitting businesses hard and that is something small businesses like Metal visions in Belton hope is doesn’t happen.
”I want what the other contractors out there would want. I would like to see an end in sight. To see it level off or start decreasing and going back down again and give a projected window as to when that is going to happen.” said McGinley.