The Dodge Momentum Index retreated 4.6 percent in July to 138.9 (2000=100), down from the revised June reading of 145.6. 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 lower reading for the Momentum Index in July was due to a 10.2 percent pullback by its institutional segment following a 6.0 percent increase in June. The commercial segment in July was basically flat, slipping a slight 0.3 percent.
After peaking in July 2018, the Momentum Index has generally receded, with the latest month’s drop consistent with that trend. Compared to a year ago, the Momentum Index in July 2019 was down 11.6 percent, with its commercial segment down a steep 17.4 percent while its institutional segment was down a relatively modest 1.8 percent. Much of the decline for the Momentum Index over the past year took place during the latter half of 2018, as December was reported 10.6 percent below the July 2018 peak. Since then, the descent for the Momentum Index has been more gradual, with the July 2019 reading down just 1.2 percent from last December.
In July, there were 13 projects each with a value of $100 million or more that entered planning, made up of nine commercial projects and four institutional projects. The leading commercial projects were a $370 million warehouse and cargo facility at the Anchorage, Alaska, International Airport and a $290 million mall redevelopment in Raleigh, N.C. The leading institutional projects were both healthcare facilities – a $230 million hospital in Albuquerque, N.M., and a $200 million hospital in Pensacola, Fla.