The Dodge Momentum Index rose 0.6% in April to 116.5 from its revised March reading of 115.8 (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.
April’s gain was due to increased planning activity for both commercial and institutional building, with commercial planning moving 0.8% higher and institutional planning rising 0.4%. Over the last eight months institutional planning has been on somewhat of a roller coaster ride – making impressive gains through early 2016 before falling 16% last month. With April’s slight gain, institutional planning is now 7% above its year-ago level, which suggests that despite volatility on a month-to-month basis the sector’s recovery is continuing. The overall Index is essentially even with its April 2015 level, due to a subdued pace for commercial planning relative to a year ago.
In April, six projects entered planning with a value that exceeded $100 million. For the commercial building sector, the leading projects were a $225 million hotel in Anaheim CA and a $200 million warehouse in Jacksonville FL. For the institutional building sector, the leading projects were a $500 million expansion to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in Los Angeles, CA, and a $163 million outpatient health center in Tahlequah OK.