The Dodge Momentum Index moved 2.9% higher in November to 155.3 (2000=100) from the revised October reading of 150.9. 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 increase in November was the result of a 6.5% increase in the institutional component, while the commercial component moved 0.7% higher.
The overall Momentum Index has staged somewhat of a resurgence over the last few months, increasing nearly 15% from its lowest point earlier in the year. In fact, it is currently flirting with a new cyclical high. The month-to-month planning data continues to be lumpy in nature as the presence or absence of large projects leads to greater volatility. Nevertheless, the underlying trend of the Momentum Index continues to suggest that construction activity in 2020 will not crater but will moderately ease relative to this year’s level.
In November, six projects each with a value of $100 million or more entered planning. The leading institutional projects were the $208 million first phase of Virginia Tech’s Innovation Campus in Alexandria VA and the $144 million ThedaCare Orthopedic Center Hospital in Appleton WI. The leading commercial projects were a $180 million office building in Los Angeles CA and a $125 million JW Marriott Hotel in Dallas TX.