Dodge Momentum Index hits highest level since 2018

By |  April 8, 2021

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The Dodge Momentum Index rose 1.7 percent in March to a reading of 151.4 from a revised February reading of 148.8.

The momentum index, issued by Dodge Data & Analytics, is a monthly measure of the first report for nonresidential building projects in planning, which have been shown to lead construction spending for nonresidential buildings by a full year.

According to the March data, the index hit its highest level since the summer of 2018 due to an increase in institutional projects that entered the planning stage – which came on the heels of a similar gain for the sector in February. Overall, the momentum index for March 2021 was up 11 percent in total versus March 2020, Dodge says.

Healthcare and lab projects continued to dominate institutional planning, but March also saw a more broad-based selection of project types such as education and recreation buildings, according to Dodge. Institutional building construction rose 14 percent from February, while year-over-year comparisons showed a 10 percent increase for the sector.

Commercial construction, however, dipped 3.9 percent for the month due to a slight pullback in warehouse activity that other commercial projects could not make up for, Dodge says, though the sector showed a 12 percent increase from March 2020 in year-over-year comparisons.

Throughout March, there were 16 projects with a value of $100 million or more that entered planning. The leading commercial projects were a $400 million Facebook Data Center in Springfield, Nebraska, and a $350 million warehouse project in Shreveport, Louisiana. The leading institutional projects were the $200 million Warhorse Casino in Lincoln, Nebraska, and the $163 million Inland Valley Medical Center in Wildomar, California.

According to Dodge, March’s data may signify that the public side of building construction is beginning to stabilize following the pandemic-led pressure on state and local budgets and suggests a pickup in construction starts may occur as 2021 progresses.

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About the Author:

Carly Bemer (McFadden) is a former Associate Editor for Pit & Quarry.

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