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Once a company has put in the time and money to make the Dividend Aristocrats list, the company isn’t likely to squander that investment just because a recession looms.

To make the list–and garner a big chunk of cash from conservative dividend investors–a company has had to pay a dividend for a least 25 consecutive years and has had to raise that dividend every year.

A company like 3M (MMM), which owns a 64-year record of paying and raising its dividend payout every year, is as close to a dividend sure thing as exists.

Which is why it’s not surprising that AbbVie (ABBV), which owns a 50-year record of paying and raising its dividend every year, has announced that it would raise its dividend in 2023 to $1.48 a quarter with the February 2023 payout. That would bring the annual dividend yield to 3.5%.

But that doesn’t mean that even Dividend Aristocrats aren’t pulling in some canvas in preparation for the possible economic storm head. AbbVie’s dividend increase for 2023 is 5%. That’s the smallest rate of increase for AbbVie in three years after dividend increases of 10.2% in 2021 and 8.5% in 2022. (I’d assume that pressure for increasing generic competition on the company’s meat-and-potatoes-with-lots-of-gravy blockbuster drug Humira, has something to do with the size of the dividend increase this year. Humira accounts for about 40% of AbbVie’s total revenue; Morningstar project that Humira sales will drop by 50% in 2023. New drugs will fill some of that hole but it will be a big challenge.)

Beyond AbbVie, I’m seeing a pattern of reduced increases to annual dividends across the dividend-paying stock universe. That seems prudent to me given what CEOs can know about 2023. But it does look like 2023 will be a year for disappointingly modest dividend increases even at the Dividend Aristocrats.

AbbVie and 3M are both members of my Dividend Portfolio.