The Dodge Momentum Index moved 4.2 percent lower in October to 150.5 (2000=100) from the revised September reading of 157.0. 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.
October’s shortfall was the third consecutive monthly decline and the result of losses in both components of the Momentum Index. The commercial component fell by 4.9 percent from September to October, while the institutional component dropped 3.1 percent. According to the report, the commercial component has, in fact, been the impetus behind the recent string of declines in the overall index. This is consistent with the view that the commercial building sector is approaching a peak and should begin to gradually ease back over the coming year. The institutional component, meanwhile, has been relatively more stable due to the availability of public funds for projects such as schools and airport terminals.
In October ten projects each with a value of $100 million or more entered planning. The two leading commercial projects were a $300 million industrial park in Frederickson, Wash., and a $154 million warehouse in Wilkes Barre, Pa. The two leading institutional projects were a $198 million school in Newburgh, N.Y., and a $105 million high school in Junction City, Kan.