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Remittances to Mexico on the upswing

Thanks to an economy that appears to be on the rebound, a considerable number of immigrants are using the period to wire money to their loved ones, the Los Angeles Times reports.

According to the paper, remittance services among immigrants originating from Mexico are on the rise, ending what had been three years of declines. Analysts say that among Mexicans who reside in the U.S., money sent home was likely in excess of $23 billion. That total falls shy of the peak remittance period in 2007 but is 8 percent ahead of the pace in 2010.

Jesus Hernandez, a remittance expert in Chicago, said the numbers are reflective of a steadily improving employment sector.

"People are working more," Hernandez relayed to the paper. "[Money] wires are coming back up."

While remittances serve as a boon to families, they also benefit infrastructure projects organized by governments. According to the paper, many state governments have so-called "Three for One" programs in place, where immigrants provide money for construction projects. Local, state and federal governments then match these contributions, helping to build streets, bridges, clinics and schools.

"The rise in remittances will mean the Mexican economy will grow compared to the year before," said Alfredo Coutino, director of credit risk management agency Moody's Analytics, in an interview with the L.A. Times. "Remittances are very important for the Mexican economy."

Wire transfers had tumbled in recent years, particularly in Mexico, due to the housing collapse that crippled much of the U.S. economy. Prior to the burst of the housing bubble, however, remittances were through the roof, as many Mexican immigrants were able to find employment without a problem.

More recent times have proven difficult, however. Pedro Morales, a 21-year-old who immigrated with his father several years ago, told the paper he's only recently been able to find work in construction. While they were tempted to abandon their search, Morales and his father stuck it out because they have mouths to feed back home.

He added he's been able to send as much as $700 every few weeks to his sisters and mother. Even a little bit is better than nothing, he noted, as he's been able to earn more money in the U.S. when compared to what he was making in Mexico.

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