Dividend investors thrive on stocks that make rising payouts over time, and with conditions in the U.S. economy as favorable as they've been lately, hundreds of companies have recently been able to reward their shareholders with higher dividends. Yet even amid the large group of dividend stocks making payout increases, a few still stand out for the size of their increases and the consistency of their dividend growth over the long run. 

In the following slideshow, you'll learn how Cintas (NASDAQ:CTAS), Yum! Brands (NYSE:YUM), and Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT) have given their shareholders higher dividend payouts going forward. In addition, you'll learn a little bit more about the business prospects these companies have, in order to help you and other dividend investors figure out whether the payout increases they've made are sustainable or represent just a flash in the pan that could easily give way to reversals in the future.

Dan Caplinger has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Cintas. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.