The Dodge Momentum Index increased 1.5% in December to 156.2 (2000=100) from the revised November reading of 153.9. 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. Both components of the momentum index rose over the month – the institutional component gained 2.3%, while the commercial component rose 0.9%.
For the full year, the momentum index averaged 141.9, a decline of 3.7% from 2018’s average. In 2019, the commercial component was 2.3% lower than the previous year, while the institutional component dropped 5.9%. Last year’s slip in the dollar value of projects entering planning suggests that construction spending for nonresidential buildings could see a setback in the year to come. However, the momentum undex did end the year on a high note indicating that a decline in 2020 construction is likely to be modest in nature.
In December, 13 projects each with a value of $100 million or more entered planning. The leading commercial projects were the $300-million Churchill Downs Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky and a $200-million Walmart distribution center in Topeka, Kansas. The leading institutional projects were the $250-million Memorial Hermann Medical Center in Shenandoah, Texas and the $240-million Advent Health Hospital in Lenexa, Kansas.