'Strong, but slightly nervous' - PRCA barometer shows boom in budgets but concerns over economy remain

The PRCA's latest economic barometer has shown that client spend again improved dramatically in Q3, but concerns for the UK economy remain high among PR agencies.

PRCA barometer: budgets are up but optimism is down
PRCA barometer: budgets are up but optimism is down

The survey, which questioned 45 members of the PR trade body, found that 42 per cent had seen budgets increase either marginally or significantly in the period between 1 July and 30 September.

That is in contrast to Q2, when 27 per cent of the 51 respondents said their budgets had improved in this period. In Q1 - between 1 January and 31 March - 32 per cent of those surveyed said budgets had improved.

In Q3, 10 per cent said budgets had decreased, whereas in Q2 this figure was double at 20 per cent. In the first three months of the year, budgets decreased among 16 per cent of agencies questioned.

PR pros highlight UK economy concerns

PR professionals were also quizzed about the health of the UK economy. In Q3, only nine per cent said they expected it to improve over the next 12 months, while 40 per cent said it would worsen. The remainder either said it would stay the same, or opted not to answer definitively.

When asked the same question in Q1, 14 per cent said the economy would improve, whereas 52 per cent said it would worsen. Twenty four per cent said it would stay the same, while the remainder chose not to answer.

In Q2, just eight per cent thought the economy would improve, while 63 per cent said it would worsen. 

Discussing the latest results, PRCA director general Francis Ingham said: "The issue outside of our control is general UK economic conditions. As we saw in the preceding barometer, agency heads have significant concerns here."

However, Ingham said the PR industry's position was strong, if "slightly nervous".

He said: "Strong because of the vibrancy and dynamism of the UK PR industry. Nervous because of uncertainty about our future trading arrangements. The fundamental strength of the UK PR industry means that we will continue to grow and prosper regardless of the ultimate shape of the UK-EU relationship."


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