NEW YORK—North American PR agencies grew by 9.8 percent according to a survey by Gould+Partners. The increase in fees was an improvement over the 2012 growth of 8.2 percent.

There was an improvement too over the results of the annual Best Practices Benchmarking report released the end of May, showing that operating profit decreased from 18.8 percent to 15.8 percent, and the billing/utilization report issued in early August, which showed that billing rates did not increase during 2013.

Based on stats from 252 PR agencies coast-to-coast and in Canada, the firms with net revenues in excess of $25 million had the largest growth at 11.4 percent, while the $3-10 million group had a growth rate of 6.9 percent.

The region showing the largest growth was Northern California at 19.7 percent.

The specialty with the largest growth rate was lifestyle/beauty/fashion and travel. The lowest growth rate was in financial/ investor relations at 8.6 percent