Labor costs drove Wabash National to Kentucky

Wabash National Corp. is building a $25 million semi-trailer manufacturing plant in Franklin, Ky., rather than in its headquarters city of Lafayette because a persistently low unemployment rate drove up wages and complicated efforts to hire workers.

Wabash CEO Dick Giromini told analysts in a recent meeting that the lower costs in Kentucky would help the company be more competitive with its trailers, according to The Journal & Courier of Lafayette.

Wabash had hit a bottleneck in Lafayette, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Joe Zachman told the gathering: “When we are at peak times, we have trouble hiring people.”

The plant will employ 460 when it opens in two years.

Wabash National has 2,230 workers at its Lafayette plant following a recent temporary layoff of 280.

The company had a 21-percent market share last year.

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