How are PR budgets, people and agencies faring?

The New York Times story below referenced a study by University of Southern California Annenberg Strategic Communication and Public Relations Center on the impact of the recession on PR budgets.

Clearing my inbox I realized that I had meant to blog about this study back in February… ahem!

There are some interesting findings on how PR is doing in the current economic environment….


  • 40% of the 200 organizations surveyed have had their current year budget reduced – with 27% reporting an increase in budget.
  • 41% attribute this to the economic downturn (6% believe it has nothing to do with the downturn – they probably don’t read the papers);
  • The average decrease was –18.8% the average increase was 16.2%
  • 51% report year-on-year budget reductions (average –19.3%) – 18% report increases (average 14.2%)
  • Overall PR budgets among the 200 companies have fallen 10.8%

Agency Spend

  • 69% are planning to reduce agency fees and 28% have already done so

PR Staff

  • 63% do not expect to reduce full-time headcount  – 15% will increase headcount

Staff Compensation

  • 93% do not expect to reduce compensation while 39% expect pay freezes

You can get a copy of the results at: