Economic charts don’t usually tug on the heartstrings. But every once in a while, one comes along that reminds you that these meandering squiggles aren’t just abstractions. They’re a way of keeping track of human behavior. (After all, that’s what an economy is, millions of people making decisions to save or spend, buy or sell, work or retire.)
One of those charts is above. It tracks worker remittances to Mexico, which is the world’s fourth-largest receiver of cash flows from workers abroad, after India, China and the Philippines. And you can see that the remittances are extremely seasonal. They peak in May almost every year.
Why? Mother’s Day, which prompts a flood of gifts home each year. Isn’t that thoughtful?
For the record, it was a pretty good year for Mexico’s mothers, with remittances rising 4.4%, compared to the prior year. (They had declined 12.4% in May 2013, as some foreign workers likely held off on sending money home amid a bout of strength for the Mexican peso.)