Dodge Momentum Index stumbles in July

New York — The Dodge Momentum Index fell in July, dropping 3.3% to 135.0 (2000=100) from its revised June reading of 139.6. 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.

The move lower in July was due to a 6.6% decline in the institutional component of the Momentum Index, while the commercial component fell 1.1%.This month continues a recent trend of volatility in the Momentum Index where a string of gains is interrupted by a step backwards in planning intentions.

Despite the decline from June to July, the Momentum Index is 6.9% higher than one year ago, which suggests further moderate gains in construction activity throughout the year. The commercial component of the Momentum Index is 8.0% higher than last year, while the Institutional component is 5.3% higher.

In July, nine projects entered planning each with a value of $100 million or more. For the institutional building sector, the leading projects were the $200 million Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Woodbridge, Va., and the $200 million phase 2B of the Thompson Education Center in Rocky Hill, N.Y. The leading commercial building projects were a $177 million Amazon fulfillment center in North Randall, Ohio, and the $170 million Pala Casino and Resort in Pala, Calif.