New Hampshire Hit By Auto Industry Downturn

Some of the 7,000 New Hampshire auto parts workers could be part of the estimated 2.5 million U.S. job losses if just one of the big three automakers declared bankruptcy.

DOVER, N.H. (AP) -- Dover, N.H., is no Detroit, but it's still being hurt by the slowdown in the automobile industry.

Park Name Plate specializes in badges and medallions. It makes the logo for the Ford Explorer's wheel cap and the emblem in the center of its steering wheel, but sales have fallen 40 percent and the company's work force is down to 100 people from the 160 it employed a year ago.

About 7,000 New Hampshire workers were involved in the production of automobile parts during the second quarter of 2008. If just one of the big three automakers declared bankruptcy, some estimates put U.S. job losses next year as high as 2.5 million.

Milford-based Hitchiner Manufacturing depends on the auto industry for about half its sales. It has managed to handle the downturn through attrition and turnover so far.

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