With the Dow Jones industrial average hitting all-time records the last two weeks, PR firm executives can't help but be aware how the overall strength of the economy is propelling their business. For many firms, the past 18 months have been the strongest and most profitable period they can remember. The good times can't last forever, and are in stunning contrast to the dark period of 1990-92. Then, many firms suffered a collapse of business, which spurred layoffs, reorganizations, mergers and some outright failures. Recalling this period, John Softness, chairman of The Softness Group, New York, said that was the first time since he founded his firm in 1960 that he thought he might be forced to close.

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