The Dodge Momentum Index rose 0.6 percent 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 percent higher and institutional planning rising 0.4 percent. 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 percent last month.
With April’s slight gain, institutional planning is now 7 percent 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, Calif., and a $200 million warehouse in Jacksonville, Fla. For the institutional building sector, the leading projects were a $500 million expansion to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in Los Angeles and a $163 million outpatient health center in Tahlequah, Okla.