Leaders of America's sagging steel industry are hoping their operations will spearhead the economy's recovery with some major help from the US government, the New York Times reports. Steel orders have collapsed since September, causing thousands of layoffs. Execs are pushing hard for the expected stimulus package from the incoming administration to be heavy on steel-hungry infrastructure projects—and to include a "buy American" clause.
The steel industry, seen as the key indicator for trends in the US economy that the auto industry once was, was booming up to September, but output plunged 50% as the financial crisis started to bite. Laid-off workers have been told to expect more work by the end of March, but uncertainty will remain until the details of Barack Obama's recovery plan are released.