Advertising may still be languishing in the doldrums, but America’s public relations industry seems to be weathering the slump nicely, judged by the tenth annual Thomas L Harris/Impulse Research PR Client Survey.

The report – based on 1540 client companies within twenty-four industries – found that the average corporate PR budget rose 21% to $2.7 million (€2.7m; £1.7m) over the last twelve months, up from $2.25m in the last survey. In-house budgets jumped 24%, while expenditure on external agencies rose 19%.

Corporate media relations remained the biggest PR sector by budget, despite a 4% fall from last year. The sectors posting the biggest gains were product media relations, community relations, investor relations and research.

“The results indicate that people are getting smarter about how to handle their media spending,” declared Bob Novick, president of Impulse Research. “As more expensive media budgets like advertising are being cut, the emphasis is being refocused and placed on PR.”

Clients seem happy with the work of their agencies – 74% said their performance was “outstanding” or “very good”, with overall satisfaction rising 5%.

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