The Dodge Momentum Index moved 4.1% higher in September to 143.6 (2000=100) from the revised August reading of 137.9. The Momentum Index, issued by Dodge Data & Analytics, 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 gain in September was due entirely to an 8.9% increase in the commercial component, while the institutional component fell 4.8%.
For the third quarter, the overall Momentum Index averaged 140.1, a scant increase of 0.7% from its average in the previous quarter. Compared to the third quarter of 2018, however, the Momentum Index is 8.6% lower with the commercial component 3.7% lower than a year ago and the institutional component down 16.2%. While the dollar volume of projects in planning is certainly lower than it was a year ago, the index has moved more sideways than downward over the last two quarters.
In September, 15 projects each with a value of $100 million or more entered planning. The leading commercial projects were a $400 million consolidated rental car facility at Newark International Airport in Newark NJ and a $163 million embassy renovation in Arlington VA. The leading institutional projects were a $235 million dormitory project in Irvine CA and the $180 million Jefferson Regional Medical Center in Pine Bluff AR.