The Dodge Momentum Index dropped 1.3 percent from July to August to 137.8 (2000=100) from the revised August reading of 139.6. 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 drop in September was the result of a 16.6 percent decline in the institutional component offsetting a 9.1 percent gain in the commercial component.
On a year-over-year basis, the overall Momentum Index is 10.3 percent below August 2018, suggesting that construction spending will be settling back as the year progresses. However, most of the decline occurred in 2018 – the Momentum Index has lost only 1.8 percent since the beginning of 2019, indicating that while construction activity will ease it is not in a freefall. On a year-over-year basis, the institutional component is 22.5 percent lower, while the commercial component is down 2.4 percent.
In August, there were 11 projects each with a value of $100 million or more that entered planning. The leading commercial projects were a $215 million office building in Mount Juliet, Tenn., and a $200 million Amazon fulfillment center in Memphis, Tenn. The leading institutional projects were a $235 million hospital tower in Salem, Ore., and a $150 million dormitory at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, S.C.