Economy Watch: Planning Velocity for Nonresidential Projects Slips in July

The drop in Dodge Data & Analytics' Dodge Momentum Index for the month was due to a 6.6 percent decline in the institutional component, while the commercial component fell 1.1 percent.

Source: Dodge Data & Analytics Dodge Momentum Index, July 2017
Source: Dodge Data & Analytics Dodge Momentum Index, July 2017

Dodge Data & Analytics’ Dodge Momentum Index fell in July, dropping to 135.0 (2000 = 100) from its June reading of 139.6. The index is a measure of nonresidential building projects in planning, which lead construction spending for such buildings by a full year.

The drop in July was because of a 6.6 percent decline in the institutional component of the Momentum Index, while the commercial component fell 1.1 percent. This month continues a recent trend of volatility in the index, meaning that a string of gains has been interrupted by a step backwards in planning intentions among developers.

Despite the decline from June to July, however, the index is 6.9 percent higher than a year ago, which suggests further moderate gains in construction activity during the rest of 2017. The commercial component of the Momentum Index is 8.0 percent higher than last year, while the institutional component is 5.3 percent 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, NY.

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.