Dodge Momentum Index Rises in September

A black & white construction blueprint with a pen and rule laying on top of the paper

The Dodge Momentum Index, published by Dodge Data & Analytics, Hamilton, N.J., rose 3.7% in September to 130.8.

The Dodge Momentum Index is a monthly measure of the first (or initial) report for nonresidential building projects in the planning stages, which have been found to lead construction spending for nonresidential buildings by a full year, according to the report.

Begun in 2003, with a “base” of 100, the Dodge Momentum Index reached its highest point in 2008 at 190, and its lowest point in 2011 at 75.

In September 2020, both components of the index rose. The commercial component rose from 152.6 in August to 158.5, an increase of 3.9%. The institutional component rose from 93.6 in August to 96.5, an increase of 3.2%.

“The Momentum Index has made steady, albeit slow, progress since hitting a nadir in June,” said the report. “In the third quarter, the Momentum Index gained 2.2% over the previous three months.”

The commercial side of the Momentum Index gained 7.4% in the third quarter, led by a large number of warehouse projects entering planning, as e-commerce retailers continue to push forward.

“Somewhat surprising is that office projects entering planning also posted a tepid gain despite concerns that office work is shifting to remote settings,” the report said.

The institutional component, however, lost ground in the third quarter, dropping by 6.8%.

“Educational projects have borne the brunt of this drop as state and local government revenues declined, creating the need for budget cuts across the country,” the report noted.

In September, seven projects each with a value of $100 million or more entered planning. The leading commercial projects were a $120 million office project in San Diego and a $110 million Georgia-Pacific distribution facility in De Pere, Ill. The leading institutional projects were the $275 million EV Smith Research Center at Auburn University, Auburn, Ala., and a $250 million arena in Palm Desert, Calif.

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