CHICAGO -- More than 200 communities are vying for thousands of federal jobs as the U.S. Defense Department tries to cut costs by consolidating its finance and accounting centers to a handful of sites.

The department in March had solicited incentive packages from communities hungry for the economic boon that many local officials expect will result from the centers. Last Monday was the deadline, and officials expect to announce the chosen sites in March 1993, spokeswoman Jean Marie Ward said.

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