There has been a major shift in the business of public policy influencing in Washington in recent years, and public relations now leads the pack.

PRUnderground, an online news release distribution service, points to explosive wage and employment growth in public relations in Washington. It notes in 1999, there were more than twice as many lobbyists than PR professionals in D.C., but that ratio has now inverted.

In the last 17 years, the number of public relations jobs in Washington has increased by an astounding 325 percent, compared to 58 percent on the national level. Washington also leads for new job creation in the PR business since the financial crisis, up 65 percent from 2008 to 2016.

The growth in public relations versus lobbying is being driven by new thinking about the most efficient ways to get the message out in D.C.

“Companies and trade organizations are going straight to the public through big TV campaigns and online campaigns, versus just focusing on influencing legislators through lobbying firms,” Brian Scully, owner of PRUnderground, told WTOP.

It is also a one-two punch, since advertising and marketing in the Washington market not only reaches the public, but also still reaches legislative influence leaders.