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by SixFigureStart | February 13, 2009

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We've tried to make the case here at Vault that the loss of a job does not mean the end of your career, and certainly not the end of your life. However, the folks at The Big Money (part of the Slate Group) have conducted a thorough (and, in spots, surprisingly scientific) study, and have determined that "finance guys" are just not getting hitched at the same rate as in years past. Is this strictly due to the recession? Does it support the theory that they've all moved out of New York City to their parents' homes in New Jersey's Pine Barrens? Have they simply outgrown the institution of marriage? Who knows?

Anyway, The Big Money used information from the New York Times wedding announcement pages (from the past three late-October-to-late-January periods) as its statistical sample. The experiment tracked the professions of the grooms in several areas: "finance, real estate, and insurance; media; and affiliated markets and industries like consultancies, luxury goods retail and promotion, and fundraising." Along the way, it found that those fields were represented in approximately half of the announcements from 2006-2007 and 2007-2008; those numbers correlated with a similar review done in 1997. However, for 2008-2009, bankers, realtors, agents, media moguls and the like showed up only 36% of the time. (The data guys didn't spend too much time on the female half of the couples, but did notice that their ranks in this group declined as well, from 46% to 39%.)

Unemployment figures were also examined (they looked for tipoffs and phrases like "until recently worked at?"). Previous surveys pegged the jobless rate at 4.1%, while the current one is different -- and approaches New York's current rate -- at 6.6%. All this can't be summarily dismissed: The write-up even comes complete with a formal mathematical analysis that says the differences are statistically significant.

What to make of this, on the day before Valentine's Day? Just buy some chocolate or flowers on your way home. In the realm of romance, ladies and gentlemen of finance, real estate and everything else, it doesn't pay to think too much -- just keep listening to your heart.

--Posted by Todd Obolsky, Vault News & Commentary

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