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Proof in the numbers: Divorces jump as the economy heats up

When the United States began pulling out of what many Americans call the Great Recession of recent years in 2009, the divorce rate nationally was reportedly at its lowest in about four decades.

As the economy began to once again pick up steam and a sustained momentum, the rate ticked back upward. Data from the U.S. Census Bureau indicate that divorces steadily rose thereafter for several years in a year, with about 2.4 million couples calling it quits in 2012.

Such information clearly reveals the close nexus between the American economy and divorce activity across the country, a link that was discussed in some detail in a recent Bloomberg article.

What that article centrally reveals is that improved economic prospects result in more divorces and that a higher divorce rate in turn drives myriad segments of the economy forward.

Consider the following, for example. The improved economic prospects of many would-be divorcing couples that stayed married a few short years ago because of tight financial conditions have resulted over the past years in a wave of marital dissolutions. The Census Bureau states that well more than five million new households have been created since 2009, owing to divorce.

That in turn has driven the need for more homes, apartments, furnishings and appliances. New home construction was reportedly up a whopping 67 percent in 2013 from 2009.

The higher divorce rate and many new lives being carved out post-divorce have also fueled the entry of progressively more divorced women into the work force. The U.S. Department of Labor states that about two of every three divorced women were employed in 2011.

Source: Bloomberg, "Worsening U.S. divorce rate points to improving economy," Steve Matthews, Feb. 18, 2014

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