The Small Business Government Communications Network has released its Federal Communications & Creative Services Report, finding that 2013 spending rose 17.2 percent to $1.7B.

The gain is the first rise in contracting since tracking began in 2010.

The report gauges outlays at 25 federal agencies and departments for services such as PR, marketing, advertising, consulting, graphic design, video, market research, and event management.

Small businesses grabbed 42.3 percent or $724.4M of the total outlays, which was up 15.2 percent from 2012.

Contracting dollars for PR and advertising rose 43 percent and 30.9 percent, respectively.

Smaller PR shops got 50.8 percent of the PR spending, while their advertising agency counterparts took 38.8 percent.

The federal government has established a goal of spending at least 23 percent at small firms.

Jim Krol, executive director of SBGC, said the survey results are "a great sign for creative and communicators."

He also noted that the 42.3 percent share for small business shows "the federal government continues to recognize small firms can help agencies and departments meet their communications contracting needs."