- The Dodge Momentum Index dropped 7% to 117.4, down from its revised February number of 125.4. March’s decline broke the upward trajectory in the Index during the previous three months, with the decrease driven by a 15% dive in the institutional category.
- Dodge’s Index report noted that even though institutional planning fell last month, that category is still up 7% over its March 2015 figure. The commercial category, however, saw only a slight dip of less than 1% last month but is down 4% from March a year ago.
- The past year has seen a volatile up-and-down pattern in the Index, reflecting uneven growth in the economy. However, Dodge added that the overall Index is virtually equal to what it was last year.
The Momentum Index is a monthly measure of initial reports of nonresidential building projects in planning, which usually lead nonresidential construction spending by one year. Dodge said that in the past 12 months, seven have seen increases in the Index, while five have seen dips.
In March, seven projects of more than $100 million in value entered the planning stages, according to Dodge. Among the large commercial projects entering planning in March were a $500 million shopping center in Los Angeles and a $113 million mixed-use building in Maspeth, NY. Entering the planning stage in the institutional sector were a $140 million hospital in Norfolk, VA, and a $135 million hospital in Santa Fe, NM.
The disappointing Momentum Index results come two weeks after the Commerce Department announced construction spending dipped 0.5% between January and February. The report showed that despite the surging residential sector, the nonresidential segment dragged down overall spending numbers.