By Ben Simmoneau

WAYNE, Pa. (CBS) –The United States Postal Service said Thursday it will cut hundreds of jobs in the Philadelphia area as it closes mail sorting facilities to save money. Two of the region’s large mail processing centers will close: the Southeastern Pennsylvania Processing and Distribution Center on West Valley Road in Wayne, and the Reading Processing and Distribution Facility.

The Wayne facility’s operations will be moved to the postal sorting center in South Philadelphia. Reading’s operations will be consolidated in Harrisburg.

Postal officials estimate 254 jobs will be lost in Wayne and 54 will be lost in Reading. Officials say they will work with employees of those facilities to find them new positions elsewhere, if possible.

Two other postal sorting centers in the region that officials feared might be closed will instead stay open. The center in Bellmawr, N.J. and the facility at Hares Corner, Del. will both keep operating, saving hundreds of jobs.

The Postal Service is closing 223, or about half, of its large mail sorting and distribution centers to cut costs. It is facing mounting budget deficits in the billions of dollars, thanks to a steep drop off in the amount of first class mail sent. First class mail makes up most of the Postal Service’s revenue but has taken a hit as more and more people pay bills, send invitations and write letters electronically.

The closures are expected to slow the speed of U.S. mail.

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