The Dodge Momentum Index rose 3.9 percent in January to 142.6 (2000=100) from its revised December reading of 137.3. 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.

The move higher in January was due to a 12.1-percent increase in institutional planning outweighing a 1.0-percent decline in commercial planning intentions, according to the report. Despite the decline in commercial planning in January, that portion of the Momentum Index remains near its eight-year high, and suggests that commercial building will see renewed strength in 2017. Institutional planning meanwhile has been subject to volatility over the past two years, as the presence or absence of large projects in healthcare, recreation, and transportation terminals have swayed that portion of the Momentum Index. However, institutional planning projects trended higher through the end of 2016, which provides some optimism for institutional building activity in 2017.

In January, 11 projects entered planning each with a value that exceeded $100 million. For the commercial building sector, the leading projects were a $278 million mixed-use building in New York and a $180 million hotel and casino in Porterville, Calif. The leading institutional projects were a $192 million Department of Veterans Affairs medical center in Reno, Nev., and a $145 million medical tower in Hackensack, N.J., according to the report.