All the major indicators measuring the health of the meetings industry were down in the third quarter, according to the CEIR Index, published by the Center for Exhibition Industry Research, Dallas.

Exhibits were hit the hardest. Net square feet of exhibit space sank the most, declining 5.7 percent compared to the same period last year. Further, the number of exhibitors declined 4.9 percent in the third quarter.

Both attendance and revenues declined 2.4 percent in the third quarter compared to the same period in 2007. Overall, the industry dropped 3.7 percent when looking at the performance of all four indicators together.

The results come as no surprise, say CEIR officials, given the state of the U.S. economy, which is in recession.