BARCELONA, Spain — The global economic downturn is slowing growth in remittances and could hinder efforts by wireless carriers and financial companies to persuade people to transfer money with their mobile phones.

"The workers that are traveling overseas are losing their jobs," Matt Dill, a senior vice president at Western Union Co. and the head of its digital ventures unit, said here this week at the Mobile World Conference sponsored by the GSM Association, a wireless trade group.

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