For the ninth consecutive quarter, the CEIR Index, which tracks metrics in the exhibition industry, has posted year-over-year declines, dropping 1.4 percent in the second quarter of this year compared to the same period in 2009.

Published quarterly by the Center for Exhibition Industry Research, the CEIR Index looks at four major areas: revenues, exhibit space sold, exhibitors, and attendance. Three of these metrics posted decreases in the second quarter compared to the previous year.

Revenues fell the most, dropping 4.4 percent, while net square feet of exhibit space sold and number of exhibitors each declined 3 percent.

The only metric that gained in the second quarter was attendance, which increased 4.5 percent. These results compare favorably to first quarter data, which saw a decrease of 0.2 percent over 2009.

While overall declines continue, the exhibition industry is not performing as badly as it did in 2009 when it had its worst year ever, declining 12.5 percent.

CEIR officials say that if the U.S. economy is able to avoid a double dip recession, the fourth quarter of 2010 and first quarter of 2011 could be the beginning of a true recovery for the exhibition industry.