Private companies demonstrated strong performance for the third quarter in the row, according to a new report.

The report, from the financial information company Sageworks, found that private companies on average grew their sales at a rate of 8.6 percent in the past year, with a growth in net profit margins of nearly 7 percent.

Revenues grew at a solid pace and profit margins were also strong last quarter, according to the company.

“This is a very positive report card,” said Sageworks chairman Brian Hamilton in a statement. “Good performance from private companies is good news for the overall economic climate in the U.S.”

He noted that the figures correspond with strong figures elsewhere in the economy.

“The economy is making solid progress,” said Hamilton. “There are always concerns. We’re bumping up against the tail end of a bull market and expansionary period, and I’d like unemployment under 6 percent at this point.”

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Some industries have been more profitable, Sageworks found. “Law firms and doctor’s offices tend to have, on average, healthier margins than construction companies,” said Hamilton.

“However, it’s also important to look directionally at margin management and performance. Are companies becoming more profitable over the years, or are they seeing margins drop?”
Sageworks identified 10 industries with the biggest jumps in profitability, over the past year. “Some industries have above average profit margins, and some are below average,” said Sageworks analyst Libby Bierman.  “However, they’re all seeing margins rise at an extraordinary rate.”

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