The primary pipe and tube category that Preston analyzes that is of interest to the Tube & Pipe Journal® readership is mechanical tubing. This category includes conduit, off-the-welder tubes with wall thickness less than 0.156 inch, hot-finished seamless, cold-drawn seamless, and drawn-over-mandrel products. The applications are broad, as is the manufacturing base.  This isn’t to exclude other tube and pipe products. Indeed, all pipe and tube products are significant contributors to the U.S. economy. In total this year, pipe and tube shipments from domestic mills will represent about 14 percent of steel manufactured in this country. To put this into perspective, based on data researched by Preston, auto manufacturing will consume a similar amount of steel this year. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, durable goods manufacturing shipments decreased by 0.2% in December, the sixth consecutive decline. The decrease was driven by a 0.4% drop in shipments of transportation equipment. However, new orders for durable goods in December, again driven by transportation equipment, increased by 2.4%. Excluding transportation equipment, new durable goods orders fell by 0.1%. Total durab...