MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - What do pandas, men's underwear, and divorces have in common? They're all indicators that the economy is turning around. More people are taking their kids to the zoo, people are shopping more, and in Shelby County more people are getting divorced.
According to a national market research company called NPD Group Incorporated, men's underwear sales are up 5 percent compared to 2011. The Memphis Zoo is reporting a 26-percent increase in ticket sales this year. And, more people now have the money to file for divorce in Memphis and Shelby County.
Divorce lawyer Miles Mason hasn't seen this many calls in a while.
"The economy has a huge affect on divorce filings,” said Mason.
He says his phone has been ringing off the hook.
"The calls have picked up tremendously in October and September of this year over September and October of last year,” he told ABC24 News.
According to Mason, nearly 2,000 people filed for divorced in Shelby County so far in 2012.
“My sense of things of how often my phone is ringing is that the divorces will be picking up in the fourth quarter of 2012,” he said.
Another sign that the economy is on the rebound: more parents are treating their kids to the zoo.
"She loves to come and it's cheap for me,” said Jeff Tow, who brought his 5 year old daughter to the Memphis Zoo.
Tow brings his daughter to the Memphis Zoo almost every 2 weeks. He's one of many who have purchased an annual membership. A family membership costs around $100.
"We have seen a large increase in people and that’s great,” said the Memphis Zoo Communications Specialist Laura Doty. “The gift shops have seen an increase in sales as well. So I think the economy is definitely picking up."
According to economists and research groups like Sageworks, other signs that the economy is improving: more people are going to hair salons, dining out, and visiting the dentist.