A government survey finds Mexican emigration dropped 13 percent in the first quarter of 2009 — an ongoing trend as the U.S. economic recession discourages Mexicans from crossing the border in search of work.

The National Statistics and Geography Institute found that 137,497 people left Mexico in the first three months of 2009, compared to 159,024 during the same period of 2008.

More people returned to Mexico than left: Immigration to Mexico rose from 120,715 to 138,599 in the first quarter, a 12 percent increase.

The institute released its findings from household surveys Tuesday.

Mexican emigration has dropped steadily over the past two years, a trend experts attribute to the U.S. economic downturn and tighter border security.