For the second consecutive year, more than four out of five public relations firms generated top line growth, according to a year-end survey of 62 Council of Public Relations Firms (Council) members.

The Council’s fourth quarter “quick survey” revealed that 87 percent of participating firms are projecting revenue growth of approximately 14 percent for the year ending 2006. The strongest growth was found among smaller agencies (less than $4 million in revenue), where the average increase was 19.3 percent. 

Looking ahead at 2007, 95 percent of firms are projecting revenue growth, at an average rate of more than 12 percent. The top client industry sectors by percentage growth over 2005 among participating firms were technology, followed by consumer products and services and healthcare, with professional services also showing steady growth for the second consecutive year.

“These results reflect a healthy industry,” says Kathy Cripps, president of the Council. “Clients are increasingly using public relations firms for more for their strategic communications, particularly in the marketing arena.”

The Council’s 2006 numbers mirror those found in the “Communications Industry Forecast,” published last fall by financial investment company, Veronis Suhler Stephenson (VSS). VSS projected the public relations industry to grow 13.9 percent in 2006; they also projected compound growth of 11.1 percent through 2010.

Nearly 90 percent of firms are currently hiring and 61 percent of firms added staff in 2006.