European steel makers said that one in six workers have lost their jobs or are working shorter hours as demand for steel has collapsed.
Eurofer — a group representing ArcelorMittal SA, Corus and ThyssenKrupp AG — said 72,000 jobs or 17 percent of the European Union's 440,000-strong steel work force have been hit by the downturn.
It says it is asking EU governments to increase financing for steel customers — car makers and the construction industry by giving more loans, guarantees, and credit insurance.
Eurofer said steel demand has collapsed since the last three months of 2008, with average orders falling 60%. It says it expects consumption to fall by 30 percent in the first quarter of this year and to keep plunging in the second quarter. Steel prices have halved, it says, and output is down 30% across the industry.
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