The Dodge Momentum Index fell 1% in May to 141.0 (the year 2000 = 100) from the revised April reading of 142.4. The momentum index, issued by Dodge Data & Analytics, 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. The May decline for the momentum index was due entirely to a 6.9% drop by its commercial component, as its institutional component rose 8.1%.

The index continues to settle back from the most recent highs achieved last summer. On a year-over-year basis, the momentum index in May was 9.2% lower than a year ago, with a 16% drop by its commercial component outweighing a 1.8% gain by its institutional component. Although the trend for the overall momentum index is downward, so far the pullback has been measured, suggesting that there remains enough nonresidential building projects in the pipeline to support near term stability for construction activity. This is particularly true for the institutional side of nonresidential building.

In May, there were 14 projects each with a value of $100 million or more that entered planning. The leading commercial projects were a $500 million office building in the Bronx, N.Y., and the $300 million second phase of the Iceberg Towers in Burbank, Calif. The leading institutional projects were the $250 million second phase of the Kaiser Permanente Hospital in Sacramento, Calif., and the $150 million Moffitt Cancer Center Hospital in Tampa, Fla.