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Trailer maker Pace American could close Middlebury plant

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A cargo trailer maker may close its manufacturing facility in Middlebury, potentially costing 150 workers their jobs.

Illinois-based Pace American Inc. notified the state of the possible closing late last week, saying it is in the process of selling its business operations and assets.

“While it is our hope that Pace American’s business operations will continue without interruption throughout the sale process, we believe there is a possibility that this sale may force [the company] to close the facility,” CEO Jim Tennant wrote in a letter to the State Department of Workforce Development.

If the northwestern Indiana plant closes, the decision is likely to be permanent, he wrote. Pace American’s facility employs 118 hourly and 32 salaried workers. The company has other facilities in Texas, Utah, Georgia and Oregon.

The closing would be another blow for Elkhart County, where 14.1 percent of the work force was unemployed in April, the last month for which state statistics are available. Its unemployment rate is the highest in Indiana and last year reached 15.3 percent to lead the nation, drawing the attention of President Barack Obama.

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