by Michael J. Shapiro | August 31, 2017
Trade show industry growth accelerated in the second quarter, according to the Center for Exhibition Industry Research. The CEIR Total Index increased by 2.9 percent year-over-year, following a first-quarter gain of 1.6 percent. The upward trend is a positive turnaround following a temporary setback in the final quarter of 2016, when the Total Index fell by 0.3 percent year-over-year. 
What's more, the exhibition industry outperformed the macroeconomy for the first time since the third quarter of 2016, its 2.9 percent growth outpacing the 2.2 percent increase in real GDP. 
"The increase in the second quarter validates our prediction that economic fundamentals continue pointing to moderate growth for the exhibition industry," said CEIR economist Allen Shaw, Ph.D., chief economist for Global Economic Consulting Associates Inc.
When broken down by industry, robust year-over-year gains were realized in events for the building, construction, home and repair, government, communications and information-technology, and discretionary consumer goods-and-services industries. Declines were reported in business services, and raw materials and science, the latter suffering due to weak oil prices.
For the exhibition industry as a whole, increases were marked in every major metric -- led by a 4 percent year-over-year gain in real revenues. The number of attendees grew by 3.8 percent, net square footage of exhibit space was up by 2.1 percent and the number of exhibitors increased by 1.8 percent for the quarter. 
Economic experts will weigh in on the outlook for the remainder of the year at the CEIR Predict Conference on Sept. 14-15 in Washington, D.C. Current variables could well have an effect. "There is a lot going on with a major hurricane in the oil-refining stronghold of Houston, and with trade-agreement negotiations," acknowledged CEIR CEO Cathy Breden, CMP, CAE. 
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