Dallas—The exhibition industry declined 3.1% in 2008 compared with 2007, according to the Center for Exhibition Industry Research Index, which was released today. It was the index’s first decline since 2002. The index combines four exhibition industry metrics, and all four declined in 2008: attendance (-4.0%), revenue (-3.5%), exhibitors (-2.6%) and net square feet (-2.0%). The CEIR Index for 2008 was impacted by large declines in the second half, with the third quarter down 6.0% and the fourth quarter, 5.7%. The CEIR Index was started in 2000; since that time, the industry has posted a compound annual growth rate of 1.8%.