The Dodge Momentum Index increased 1.5% in December to 156.2 (2000=100) from the revised November reading of 153.9. 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. Both components of the Momentum Index rose over the month – the institutional component gained 2.3%, while the commercial component rose 0.9%.
For the full year, the Momentum Index averaged 141.9, a decline of 3.7% from 2018’s average. In 2019, the commercial component was 2.3% lower than the previous year, while the institutional component dropped 5.9%. Last year’s slip in the dollar value of projects entering planning suggests that construction spending for nonresidential buildings could see a setback in the year to come. However, the Momentum Index did end the year on a high note indicating that a decline in 2020 construction is likely to be modest in nature.
In December, 13 projects each with a value of $100 million or more entered planning. The leading commercial projects were the $300 million Churchill Downs Hotel in Louisville KY and a $200 million Walmart distribution center in Topeka KS. The leading institutional projects were the $250 million Memorial Hermann Medical Center in Shenandoah TX and the $240 million Advent Health Hospital in Lenexa KS.