Steel production had increased exponentially since the industrial revolution, 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 in North America, the English Midlands in the United Kingdom, the Ruhr area in West Germany and Bergslagen in Sweden. The U.S. city of Youngstown, Ohio was among the hardest-hit areas of the steel crisis, with the announced closure of Youngstown Sheet and Tube on September 19, 1977, still known to locals as Black Monday; as of July 2013, Youngstown still has not recovered from the steel crisis.
In Britain, a series of political and economic crises impact the steel industry. The steel industry was nationalized in 1967 by the Labour government. Historian Alasdair Blair states that British Steel Corporation (BSC) had "serious problems" including complacency with existing obsolescent plants (plants operating under capacity and thus at low efficiency); outdated technology; price controls that reduced marketing flexibility; soaring coal and oil costs; lack of capital investment funds; and increasing competition on the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. Blair argues that by the 1970s the government kept employment artificially high in a declining industry. This especially impacted BSC since it was a major employer in a number of depressed regions.
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