PR Industry Growing Despite Weak Economy

Encouraging news on a dreary Monday in New York City: the American PR industry is doing quite well, thanks. According to a study released by management consulting firm StevensGouldPincus, our business is expanding at a healthy rate even as the larger economy struggles to return to pre-recession levels for all but the richest Americans. Seems like more and more businesses are itching to discover what, exactly, public relations is all about.


  • The industry at large grew at 8.2% in 2o12
  • Operating profit grew from 18.2% to 18.8% despite billing rates remaining the same
  • Edelman was excluded from the study because the firm’s results skewed averages
  • The fastest growth occurred in the Southwest, Southeast and Northern California, proving that you don’t need to live in New York or L.A. to make it big in PR

These findings confirm the latest Holmes Report “World PR report“, which found the industry to be growing 8% globally.

Some caveats:

The lion’s share of these gains can be attributed to the country’s largest firms (those with yearly revenues over $10 million), a finding that emphasizes the difficulty of starting a boutique business. For what it’s worth, we believe this conclusion downplays the success of niche firms, which are increasingly competing with the big boys for clients in tech and other industries.

Still, the findings should give you some confidence in the security of a job that your parents still don’t understand.