PR is recovering from the recession much faster than in previous recessions, AdAge reports, and that’s thanks in part to social media.

Putting aside for now the irony of an advertising trade rag talking about what’s going on in PR, the numbers do seem to back up the claim: three quarters of the 59 agencies surveyed by the Council of PR Firms experienced growth in the first half of 2010 versus 21 percent in 2009, and three quarters are also saying the new business pipeline is stronger than a year ago. Total PR spend will hit $3.4 billion this year, a 3 percent increase from 2009, and may reach $4.4 billion by 2014, according to Veronis Suhler Stevenson, a private-equity firm that publishes annual reports on the state of the PR industry.

What does this have to do with social media? It’s because of the “dual role PR plays for marketers,” says AdAge. And here’s Tom Harrison, chairman and CEO of Omnicom Group’s Diversified Agency Services: “PR can prepare a brand or product for its target market while also preparing the market for that new brand or product. There isn’t another discipline in all of communications services that can do that for a brand.”