The exhibition industry declined 13.5 percent in the third quarter compared to the same period in 2008, marking the sixth straight quarter that the industry has posted year-over-year drops, according to the Center for Exhibition Industry Research’s CEIR Index.

The third quarter was worse than the second quarter, when the industry fell 10.9 percent year-over-year. And while the recession may be over, according to some economists, fortunes aren’t expected to improve for the exhibition industry in the near future. “Exhibitions are historically a trailing indicator, so even though there is reported improvement in GDP and technically we are no longer in a recessionary period, CEIR does not expect that to influence the fourth-quarter 2009 numbers,” CEIR officials stated in a press release.

CEIR tracks four industry metrics and all were in negative territory for the third quarter. Professional attendance fared the best, down 2.5 percent. The number of exhibiting companies was off 13 percent, net square feet of exhibit space fell 16 percent, and revenues dropped 22 percent in the quarter.