updated 12/1/2009 11:14:21 AM ET 2009-12-01T16:14:21

Mexico's central bank says the money migrants sent home fell nearly 36 percent in October compared to the same month last year. It's the largest drop since records began to be kept in 1996.

The Bank of Mexico says Mexicans abroad sent home $1.69 billion in October 2009, nearly $1 billion less than October 2008.

Statistics published on the bank's Web site Tuesday indicate migrants sent $18.1 billion in the first 10 months of 2009, a 16 percent drop from the same period last year.

Remittances sent by migrants have been Mexico's second largest source of foreign income, falling only behind oil exports. Bank officials have said remittances are declining because of the U.S. economic downturn, particularly in the construction market.

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