Tom T Hall is a story teller in song. One of his songs, The Rolling Mills of Middletown, released 45 years ago in 1972, tells the story of two friends who moved from Kentucky to work in the ARMCO steel mill in Middletown, Ohio, halfway between Cincinnati and Dayton. The one catches his unhappy wife cheating with "some dayshift guy" and throws himself into a blast furnace. The song meant nothing to me, other than being another sad country song until I read JD Vance's "Hillbilly Elegy: a memoir of a family and a culture in crisis". Suddenly, I could put the song into both historical context and get a glimpse of a world now long past where good paying factory jobs were readily available to people with highschool or less education. The loss of these jobs is greatly mourned by the white working class of the rust belt who elected Donald Trump.
Middletown is the setting of Hillbilly Elegy, where Vance's grandparents moved from backwoods Kentucky in the 1940s in search of a better life and where Vance grew up. It is the location of the huge steel plant owned by American Rolling Mill Corporation a.k.a. Armco Steel a.k.a. AK Steel. According to the AK Steel website, the plant in Middletown is still in operation.
Middletown Works, located in southwest Ohio, midway between Cincinnati and Dayton, is the nation's most productive integrated steel operation. Its carbon steel melting, casting, hot and cold rolling, and finishing operations cover more than 2,791 acres. Middletown Works' hot strip mill is the only domestic mill equipped with pair-cross rolling technology for improved shape and crown control.
What the website doesn't say is how many jobs were shed through automation in the years between Tom T Hall's song and JD Vance's book. But Vance's book covers it quite well, not so much the numbers but the effect on the town and its people. If you have not read it, I would recommend it highly.