Dodge Momentum Index Falls in March

May 2016

The Dodge Momentum Index fell 7 percent in March to 117.4 from its revised February reading of 126.4 (2000=100). The Momentum Index is a monthly measure of the first (or initial) report for nonresidential building projects in planning, which have been shown to lead construction spending for nonresidential buildings by a full year.
The decline in March is the first setback for the index following three months of gains. Over the last 12 months the index has been particularly volatile, increasing in seven months and dropping in five, mirroring the saw tooth pattern of growth in the overall economy. The March decline for the Index was due primarily to a steep 15 percent drop by institutional planning, while commercial planning fell less than one percent. Despite its stark retreat, institutional planning activity is 7 percent above its level in March 2015, while commercial planning is down 4 percent from last year. The overall Index is essentially even with its year-ago level.
In March, seven projects entered planning with a value that exceeded $100 million. For the commercial building sector, the leading projects were a $500 million shopping center in Los Angeles and a $113 million mixed-use building in Maspeth, N.Y. For the institutional building sector, the leading projects were a $140 million hospital in Norfolk. Va., and a $135 million hospital in Santa Fe, N.M.