CADIZ, Ky. (AP) -- A large trailer manufacturer is consolidating its operations in southern Kentucky, leading local officials to hope the move brings new jobs to an area struck by high unemployment.
Wabash National Corp. announced last week it is closing its Transcraft Corp. operations in Anna, Ill., with plans to move the business to its plant in Cadiz, in Trigg County.
The Kentucky New Era reports that 70 to 75 workers from the Illinois plant were laid off, but offered a chance to relocate and apply for jobs at the Cadiz facility. The company plans to complete the transition by the middle of next year.
Officials in Trigg County are excited about the move, hoping it brings jobs to an area with a 16 percent unemployment rate, the fifth highest in the state.
"I think it's a great plus for our community, especially with the economy like it is," Cadiz Mayor Lyn Bailey said. "We have a pool of workers that are available to work and that are already trained in those jobs."
It's unclear how many jobs will become available in Cadiz as a result of the move. Allison Henk, marketing communications manager for Transcraft, said they are not yet accepting applications.
Transcraft, a subsidiary of Wabash, is a manufacturer of flatbed, drop deck, dump trailers and truck bodies.
"These types of decisions are always difficult to make, especially when it affects associates," Terry Campbell, general manager of Transcraft, said. "But due to the current economic climate we are faced with the need to further right-size our operating footprint and reduce our cost structure.
The Cadiz plant currently produces all of Transcraft's aluminum platform and dump product lines while the Anna location manufactures steel and combo platforms. Henk said the Cadiz location was chosen as the new headquarters based on the facility and the equipment.