The Dodge Momentum Index fell 0.5% in April to 144.3 (2000=100) from the revised March reading of 145.1. 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 retreat in April was the result of the commercial component falling 1% while the institutional component rose a scant 0.2%.
The Momentum Index has clearly lost some impetus over the last twelve months. The overall Momentum Index is down 8.5% since April 2018, with the commercial component 4.7% lower and the institutional component 13.9% lower. However, over the past several months the Momentum Index has moved in a crab-like fashion with neither strong gains or losses. This suggests that there continues to be a reasonably healthy number of projects in the planning pipeline to support a moderate level of construction activity in the coming months.
In April, 18 projects each with a value of $100 million or more entered planning. The leading commercial projects were a $418 million Microsoft data center in Des Moines IA and a $300 million warehouse in Staten Island NY. The leading institutional projects were a $300 million hospital in New York NY and a $200 million hospital in Beachwood OH.