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Mexican economy growing stronger

The Mexican economy has begun to grow stronger, thanks to an increase in quality factories and investments from large corporations such as General Motors. Mexico is frequently competing with other countries when it comes to business, and the country looks to make gains on one of its rivals. Mexico has concentrated efforts in expanding its factory production in order to compete with traditional economic powers such as China, and the economy is getting help from companies like GM. The auto giant has recently made plans to invest in Mexican operations, moving critical manufacturing duties into the country. The boost in the Mexican economy could have an affect on many people who send money to relatives in the country, and the surge could create jobs and possibly bolster currency.

Factory growth
A recent report by the Boston Consulting Group expects Mexico's manufacturing advantage over China to continue to grow. Mexican workers typically produce more goods per hour than the Chinese in similar positions, according to the report. The ratio of quality work to the lowest price is better in Mexico than China, and it speaks to the dedication and work ethic in the country. The production is helping to stabilize the economy, and families who send money to loved ones can rest easier knowing the impending financial strength in Mexico.

The BCG report predicts that Mexican factories will produce more than U.S. $60 billion in goods per year. Most of those products are exported to other countries, including the U.S.

"We know there's a lot of work leaving China for Mexico, because it's cheaper," said Harold Sirkin, a BCG senior partner. "Products made in Mexico contain four times as many U.S. made parts, on average, as those made in China."

The relationship to the United States is a positive one for both countries, and many of Mexican exports head toward the U.S. The free trade agreements employed by Mexico have raised the global appeal of importing and exporting with the country, according to the BCG report.

Sirkin added that many companies, including those in China, are looking to expand their factories into Mexico. Several industries are gaining particularly well within the country, such as electronics, appliances, machinery, and automobiles.

GM expanding into Mexico
One company attracted to the affordability and quality in Mexico is General Motors. According to Reuters, GM has recently detailed a plan to invest U.S. $691 million into its factory operations in the country. Specifically, the company wants to add an engine factory in Toluca and a new factory in Silao, and also perform upgrades to the current factory in San Luis Potosi. Most of these locations would focus on transmissions and next generation technologies built by GM. 

The attraction GM has with Mexico has to do with the quality of labor, and the affordability of the work force. Manufacturing in the country is more cost-effective than in other parts of the world, and the location helps – being close to the U.S. reduces the costs normally associated with importing and exporting. According to Reuters, many automakers are interested in expanding to Mexico, and some analysts feel that the Mexican economy might become Latin America's biggest, eventually overtaking Brazil.

The current GM facilities in Mexico have 15,000 employees, and that number is expected to grow significantly with the addition of several new locations. This will bolster the economy, and help improve finances for both Mexico and the U.S.

"The automotive sector is today one of the pillars of the national economy, representing more than 20 percent of manufacturing GDP and continues to be, for many reasons, a fundamental industry in attracting investments to productive sectors of the economy," said Ernesto Hernandez, president of GM Mexico.

Overall, the Mexican economy is trending positively, and many people who are financially invested in the country can take comfort in that.   


Los legisladores mexicanos están revisando las estrategias para atraer a los jubilados estadounidenses

Líderes mexicanos quieren que la economía del país prospere y están considerando varias iniciativas para incrementarla. Por ejemplo, el Sun Herald informa que varios legisladores mexicanos están evaluando facilitar los límites de propiedad de la tierra para así atraer más jubilados estadounidenses al país.

La costa mexicana es una bonita zona escénica que es atractiva para muchos de los residentes de la nación. Sin embargo, esta área se encuentra actualmente disponible para su compra sólo para residentes mexicanos, pero la nueva legislación podría dar a los no ciudadanos oportunidades para invertir en estos bienes raíces de calidad.

Ambientes relajantes y sin estrés en México, son ideales para los jubilados estadounidenses, asegura el colaborador Barry Golson de la AARP The Magazine, quien recomienda la región de Puerto Vallarta para los jubilados norteamericanos. Esta zona ha sido un destino turístico muy popular desde hace años y sigue siendo un punto muy atractivo para los visitantes mexicanos que quieren disfrutar de la belleza y la cultura de la nación.

No sólo, Puerto Vallarta alberga numerosas playas de primera clase, sino que el comercio es un gran atractivo. Ya que son conocidos la vasta cantidad de bares y tiendas de curiosidades que se pueden encontrar en Vallarta. Golson pone énfasis en que la zona está llena de flores y plazas coloridas que ayudan a que el  lugar sea un paraíso maravilloso para los jubilados.

Jubilados estadounidenses podrán apreciar la belleza de México
Peter Glass, un ex ejecutivo de Procter & Gamble, vive con su esposa, Charlotte, en Puerto Vallarta. El matrimonio es uno de los muchos que goza del encanto de la región, lo que hace que sea un destino diferente en comparación con otros lugares de retiro de todo el mundo.

"Es un soplo de aire fresco proverbial," Peter Glass dijo a una fuente de noticias.

La belleza natural de México ayuda a que el país se diferencie de muchos otros en todo el mundo. Asimismo, los ciudadanos del país pueden beneficiarse significativamente si hay más jubilados estadounidenses viviendo en la zona.

Los dueños de empresas mexicanas podrian ver sus ganancias aumentar rápidamente, a medida que más jubilados puedan gastar el dinero en varias tiendas en toda la región. Además, los dueños de restaurantes mexicanos podrían mejorar notablemente sus ventas en períodos cortos de tiempo, gracias en parte al apoyo que podrían recibir de los jubilados estadounidenses.

Mientras tanto, los dirigentes mexicanos están revisando constantemente soluciones para ayudar a aumentar los ingresos de la nación. Si bien muchos países han luchado para recuperarse de la recesión económica de finales del decenio de 2000, los legisladores mexicanos  están dedicando el tiempo necesario para asegurar que los residentes del país y los que trabajan en los EE.UU. y realizan enviar dinero a sus familiares en casa, se beneficien de las reformas legislativas en los próximos años.


How to avoid work-from-home pitfalls

Whether it's working for a small business owner, a franchise-based company or picking up some extra shifts from temporary positions, immigrants who send money to their families back home will go to great lengths to ensure that their loved ones are provided for. And thanks to the internet and telecommunication, many immigrants are taking advantage of these modern-day conveniences by working from home.

Today, more people than ever before are putting in full work days at the office, only from the comfort of their own homes. While distractions from one's residence may be too hard to overcome for some, others are able to thrive on their home turf. Not only do they get more done, but they're also able to get through with their day earlier than they would had they gone into the office, avoiding rush hour traffic and public transportation delays.

That said, there are some negatives of work-from-home jobs that can prevent individuals from advancing in their lines of work, whether it's being paid more or receiving a promotion, according to recent survey data.

Human resources and talent management firm Korn/Ferry International recently surveyed more than 300 company executives throughout the country, asking them about their businesses, their employees and their overall take on career mobility. One of the most noteworthy responses from these business execs was what they thought of working from home. In 60 percent of cases, employee managers said that they thought home-based workers risked limiting themselves with regards to career advancement.

Ana Dutra, Korn/Ferry Leadership and Talent Consulting CEO, indicated that people who take advantage of telecommunication need to be aware of the fact that company decision makers may unintentionally overlook them simply because they're not physically present.

"While working at home can be beneficial for both companies and workers, it can also lead to 'invisibility' that can limit opportunities for career advancement," said Dutra. "It is important for telecommuters to remain networked as closely as possible with peers and leaders in the office."

Human resource experts say that networking is much easier today than it has been historically, mainly because of the increased channels in which individuals can stay in touch with others. Social media websites, such as Facebook and Twitter, are one way to maintain contact with co-workers, but this should also include face-to-face communication. In other words, home-based workers should make it a priority to go into the office every now and then so that they can maintain a presence and stay connected.

Work-from-home myths
Because working from home has become so common, a number of inaccuracies and myths are out there that may be giving individuals the wrong impression of it. Nonprofit human resources association recently attempted to dispel some of these flawed beliefs.

For example, some people think that the typical individual who works from home are mothers who have children. While true, many parents do work from their home because it enables them to juggle work with family responsibilities, the average teleworker is a 40-year-old man with a college degree.

There's also the suggestion that home-based workers don't give as much effort as individuals who go into the office. The Scottsdale, Arizona-based HR firm indicates that the opposite is more accurate, as traditionally, working from home requires greater conscientiousness given the variety of distractions there can be that aren't in the office.


USCIS reveals new grant initiative for soon-to-be citizens

Since 2009, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has provided newly minted citizens – many of whom send money home to their families – with more than $23 million thanks to the 150 grants that have been provided to immigrant advocacy organizations. And as a recent announcement indicates, that total is about to go up.

USCIS revealed on April 18 that its launching a new grant initiative, called the Citizenship and Integration Grant Program, while will help prepare residents for the naturalization process. The endowment is expected to provide immigrant-serving organizations with $10 million in funding to better ready immigrants for citizenship and the tasks that accompany it.

This opportunity is only available for a limited time, however. USCIS noted that the application period end on May 22, and those who are interested can learn more about it at USCIS' website, which has links to additional websites for more in depth guidance.

Citizenship ceremonies occur throughout the year and are often organized by USCIS. In mid-April, to celebrate National Library Week, USCIS director Alejandro Mayorkas administered the oath of allegiance to more than two dozen people who naturalized, coming from various parts of the world, including Canada, El Salvador, India, Peru and Poland.


Details of immigration bill released

When people are hard at work in order to send money home to their families, what's happening in the news can be difficult to keep track of. But there's currently a bill in the Senate that has the potential to impact millions of immigrants who are either here currently or who intend to come to the U.S. in the future so that they can pursue their dreams.

According to details of the legislation, which were provided in summary form to multiple news agencies, unauthorized immigrants who have come to the U.S. will be able to obtain citizenship more quickly through some of the new rules laid out by senators. For example, among people who came to the U.S. before December 31, 2011, they will be allowed to apply for "Registered Provisional Immigration Status," which will afford them with the legal capability of staying with in the U.S. However, they have to pay as much as $500 in taxes and penalties and they will also need to show that they haven't been convicted of three or more crimes.

Once this all checks out, immigrants will maintain this provisional status for a period of 10 years. Once this time passes, they'll then be able to earn a green card. Before they're given one, though, they have to establish that they understand English, in addition to paying a $1,000 fee.

Expanded E-Verify use, new visas
There will also be greater use of the E-Verify system, which companies have been using with more regularity in order to determine whether people are legally authorized to reside in the country. Those who fail to meet the various requirements that enable them to work in the U.S. will no longer be eligible to work.

What may be viewed as one of the best components of the new immigration bill, which has yet to become law, is the production of more visas. Of course, visas are what give immigrants the ability to enter the U.S. There are limits to them, however, as the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services only hands out so many in any given year. But should the bill become law, the annual cap on H1-B visas for high-skilled workers would jump from 65,000 to 110,000. The absolute maximum handed out would be 180,000.

The bill also stipulates that a brand new visa may be created, called a "W" visa. Though it's still unclear how many of these visas would be created, they would go to any worker who's not in an agricultural-based employment sector. They could then work for employers in the U.S., provided these business are registered.

As for those immigrants who work on farms and in other agriculture-oriented jobs, those who came to the U.S. and are undocumented would have to continue working for that same company or farm owner. After five years, they would then become eligible to apply for a green card.

Though this isn't the first time lawmakers have collaborated in order to try and come up with a comprehensive pathway to legalization for undocumented immigrants, political observers believe this bill has a good chance of clearing the necessary hurdles to be signed into law. Eight senators were charged with crafting the bill, led by Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, Sen. Robert Menendez of New Jersey and Sen. Lindsay Graham of South Carolina.

The overwhelming majority of Americans support undocumented workers' ability to stay in the U.S. In a recent survey conducted jointly by CNN and ORC International, 84 percent of respondents said they should be allowed to continue working.


Novedades en el Mercado inmobiliario hispano

Mientras que muchos de los hispanos que trabajan hoy en día en Estados Unidos, se las arreglan para seguir realizando enviar dinero a México y a otras partes de Latino América, también se las ingenian para invertir su dinero en comprar su primera vivienda. Esto se ha dado tan frecuentemente, que los expertos inmobiliarios creen que el deseo de los latinos por tener un lugar propio puede tener un rol fundamental en el mercado en los próximos años.

De acuerdo al informe  de 24 páginas publicado por la Asociación Nacional de Profesionales Hispanos de Bienes Raíces, NAHREP (por sus siglas en Ingles), hoy en día, los latinos son el grupo de más rápido crecimiento en el mercado inmobiliario. Esta tendencia ha sido única en toda la historia de Estados Unidos y los llamados compradores "vírgenes de casas" han marcado todo un record.

Por ejemplo, durante los últimos 12 años, más de la mitad – 51 por ciento – del total del incremento neto de las viviendas ocupadas por sus propietarios, han sido hispanos, o lo que se traduce en unos 355.000, según los informes del RIS Media.

Juan Martínez, quien ha sido recientemente nombrado presidente del NAHREP, dijo que este escenario es sólo uno de los últimos signos de la positiva influencia que los latinos han traído al bienestar del desarrollo de la economía eestadounidense.

Agregó que debido a que muchos hispanos hoy en día son responsables con la forma en que administran su dinero, el  mal crédito no es un problema que en un futuro les impida a los latinos  convertirse en propietarios de sus viviendas.

Lo que podría afectar esa realidad es el ritmo acelerado  con que hoy se están comprando las casas – el cual es más rápido que la actualización de los niveles de inventarios que los constructores de viviendas realizan.

Poca oferta,  limita a la industria inmobiliaria
Esto ha sido un problema desde hace varios meses. Por ejemplo, en el último informe publicado por la Asociación Nacional de Agentes Inmobiliarios (NAR, por sus siglas en Ingles), las ventas pendientes de casas – que son las transacciones de bienes raíces sobre la base de cuántos contratos se han firmado – se redujo aproximadamente cinco décimas de un por ciento en febrero. La razón de esta disminución se dio por la poca cantidad de casas disponibles.

Lawrence Yun, jefe economista de NAR, indicó que las empresas de construcción tienen la llave para frenar esta disminución.

"Realmente, sólo la construcción de nuevas viviendas puede ayudar a aliviar la escasez de inventario, la construcción de viviendas tiene que incrementar en al menos un 50 por ciento desde los niveles actuales", dijo Yun.

Predijo que la curva en que la compra de propiedades se desplace  a lo largo de los próximos meses, dependerá en gran medida de la mejora de los niveles de inventarios limitados, lo que él dice podría ser efectuada si las regulaciones para las empresas de construcción fuesen menos pesadas. Evitando así,  algunos de los trámites burocráticos involucrados con la producción inmobiliaria.

Si bien, los latinos parecen ser el principal motor detrás de la compra de la primera casa, los niveles de propietarios hispanos  han caído sobre una base porcentual.

Según el informe del RIS Media, alrededor del 46 por ciento de los hispanos son dueños de una casa, en comparación con el 47,5 por ciento del 2010. Esto significa una baja  porque hoy en día hay más personas de origen latino en los Estados Unidos que hace tres años.

El informe también revela otros aspectos de la vida de la comunidad latina  en los EE.UU.  Por ejemplo, el poder de compra – o la cantidad que una determinada comunidad contribuye a la función económica de un país –  la cual se ha incrementado considerablemente entre los hispanos. En la actualidad supera el $ 1 billón y se prevé que alcance los $ 1,5 billones en el plazo de dos años.

Mucho de esto puede derivar de los niveles de educación que los hispanos están logrando. El informe de la NHAREP muestra que los latinos representan el segmento más grande de las minorías matriculados en las universidades. Ellos lo están haciendo bien, pues una vez que se gradúan de las escuelas, también siguen teniendo un buen desempeño, ya que cuatro de cada 10 ganan un promedio de aproximadamente $ 50.000 cada año.


Netherlands leads the way in child welfare, UNICEF report reveals

A new study may prove to be a source of stress relief for immigrants who wire money to the Netherlands in order to provide for their families. That's because it indicates that among the world's most prosperous nations, no country is better at ensuring the overall safety, health and well-being of children than the Western Europe nation.

According to the report, which was conducted by the United Nations – or more specifically the United Nations Children's Fund, otherwise known as UNICEF – the Netherlands is the runaway leader in health statistics for children in many different categories. This includes material well-being, physical health and safety, educational awareness, behavior, as well as housing and environmental concerns.

While there are nearly 200 countries in the world, UNICEF confined its report to only those countries that are the wealthiest, which was determined by their gross domestic product. Of the 29 nations that were analyzed, the Netherlands came out on top.

Interestingly, however, wealth didn't necessarily correlate with overall well-being.

"There does not appear to be a strong relationship between per capita GDP and overall child well-being," the report stated. "In other words, country wealth does not always mean happier and healthier children."

Separate analysis has revealed this to be true as well. Previous reports have shown that several countries in Latin America and parts of Europe have some of the happiest people on earth, but their GDP was a fraction of other more prosperous nations.

There's also something special about this general region of the world. UNICEF notes that in previous studies, countries like Finland, Iceland and Norway – just north of the Baltic States – have routinely been high among the ranks of countries whose children are doing well health-wise.

UNICEF: Public policy plays large role in child wellness
Much of this stems from government investments, the report found.

"Child poverty is not inevitable but policy-susceptible," the study said. "And some countries have been doing much better than others at protecting their most vulnerable children."

There were several sub-categories of the five factors that UNICEF looked at in order to draw their conclusions. For instance, for material well-being, researchers based this on monetary deprivation and material deprivation. In both of these sub-section, children in the Netherlands fared well. The same was found for educational well-being, which was determined based on scholastic achievements and participation, or the percentage of children in the Netherlands who are in school and graduating.

Gordon Alexander, director of research at UNICEF, noted that this study is meant to encourage governments to focus more on how they can improve children's lives so that they can thrive once they become adults, contributing to their own well-being as well as their country's financial status.

"Whether in today's time of economic crisis, or in better financial periods, UNICEF urges governments and social partners to place children and young people at the heart of their decision-making processes," said Alexander. "For every new policy measure considered or introduced, governments explicitly have to explore the impact and effects on children, families with children, adolescents and young adults. These groups do not have a voice in the political processes, or their voices are too seldom heard."

As for the United States, the country's child welfare finished 26th out of 29 countries, far below what most people may think of when they think of the U.S. and it's standing in comparison to other industrialized nations.

One area where the children's welfare was weak was educational well-being. Despite spending more for education per capita than any other country in the world, UNICEF ranked the U.S. as having the third-worst performance record based on achievement and participation.


Setting the record straight on insurance and earthquakes

Some of the most significant natural catastrophes to affect people around the world have come in the form of earthquakes.

Over the past decade, millions of people from all around the world have reached into their pockets and bank accounts so that they could send money to nations like Haiti, the Philippines, China, Indonesia and Pakistan so that victims can recover as quickly as possible.

One nation that has been relatively unscathed by earthquakes in recent years is the United States. However, as the Insurance Information Institute indicates, these earth-shaking events can happen at anytime and at any place. As such homeowners and renters need to be sure that they're prepared in the event a temblor occurs.

A mistake that many homeowner often make is assuming that their insurance coverage includes protection from earthquakes. As a general rule, however, basic homeowners policies do not provide compensation for quakes, no matter how minor or powerful they may be. In fact, even in California – a state where earthquakes are 66 percent more likely to transpire than in other parts of the country, primarily due to the sheer number of fault lines in the region – earthquake insurance has to be purchased separately from a normal home owner's insurance policy.

As common as earthquakes may be in the Golden State, though, they occur on a regular basis throughout the U.S., but most of them barely perceptible. Two years ago, though, this coming August, a 5.8-magnitude earthquake struck Virginia, a state where earthquakes have historically been few and far between, but was still strong enough to cause serious property damage.

Loretta Worters, consumer spokesperson and vice president of the III, noted that what happened in Virginia is a perfect example of how unpredictable earthquakes can be.

"Earthquakes can strike suddenly, without warning and can occur at any time, and in any season of the year," said Worters. "That's why it's important that everyone, no matter where they live, contact an insurance professional to make sure that they have the right type and amount of insurance."

What earthquake insurance covers
For those who've gone through an earthquake and what can result in the aftermath, these natural catastrophes can leave severe devastation. Depending on how strong it is, which seismographs are able to determine, the shaking and cracking caused by earthquakes can bring significant crevices and cracks to the earth's surface, destroying buildings, homes and possessions. Fortunately, earthquake insurance can help homeowners pick up the pieces.

"Earthquake insurance covers debris removal and pays for extra living expenses you may have while your home is being rebuilt or repaired," according to the III. "Coverage for other kinds of damage that may result from earthquakes, such as fire and water damage due to burst gas and water pipes, is provided by standard homeowners and business insurance policies in most states."

Homeowners are encouraged to speak with their insurance professional if they aren't sure whether they have earthquake coverage and how much it will cost them to add it to their standard homeowners policy. They may also want to ask about the offspring of earthquakes, such as landslides and mudflows. While these events may have occurred because of a quaking event, the damage resulting from them may require separate coverage, the III notes.

Even though earthquakes can happen anywhere, history shows that they tend to occur in California, which just so happens to be the state that most immigrants who currently live in the U.S. reside. According to the Immigration Policy Center, more than 10.1 million immigrants currently live in the Golden State. Nearly half of them call California their home, as 45 percent of the immigrants there have gone through the naturalization process.