The Dodge Momentum Index climbed 0.5 percent in February to 126.1 (2000=100) from its revised January reading of 125.5. 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.
February’s increase was the third consecutive month-to-month gain for the Index, as a 1.0 percent pickup by commercial planning reports overcame a slight 0.1 percent decline by institutional planning. While commercial planning activity is still below the levels present throughout much of 2015, it has made a moderate recovery following the decline witnessed in late-2015. Institutional planning, despite easing back in February, continues to be above last year’s levels due to the generally upward trend registered over the course of 2015.
In February, seven projects entered planning with a value that exceeded $100 million. For the commercial building sector, the leading projects were a $190 million office renovation in New York, a $140 million hotel and casino in Gulfport, Miss., and a $129 million mixed-use project in Long Island City, N.Y. For the institutional building sector, the leading projects were a $500 million medical complex in Indianapolis and a $180 million hospital in Valhalla, N.Y.