The signs are good for the US newspaper industry, with a new report showing a rise in ad revenues for the fourth quarter.

According to the Newspaper Association of America, advertising in the sector rose 4.4% in Q4 to $12.8 billion (€11.9bn; £8.1bn), buoyed by a 12.4% surge in national spend (an area typically hit hard by recessions) to $1.9bn.

Significantly, retail firms upped their outlay by 3.8% to $6.1bn and classified adspend increased 2.2% to $4.8bn. “The fact that retail, national and classified advertising all showed gains in the fourth quarter bodes very well for the newspaper industry,” beamed NAA president/ceo John Sturn.

The sector did not fare well for much of 2002. The fourth-quarter boost could not make up for earlier losses and full year adspend dipped 0.5%. Recruitment advertising alone fell 23.1% to $4.4bn last year.

However, the future looks more promising. Predicted NAA vp Jim Conaghan: “As business activity and consumer confidence gradually accelerate during 2003, it will secure the foundation of the advertising recovery.”

Data sourced from: BrandRepublic (UK); additional content by WARC staff