The Dodge Momentum Index rose 3.2 percent in December, according to the latest report from McGraw-Hill Construction, a division of The McGraw-Hill Companies. 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 December gain brought the Momentum Index to 94.9 (2000=100), up from November’s revised 91.9. After displaying an upward trend during the first seven months of 2012, the Momentum Index settled back from August through October, and then stabilized in November. According to McGraw-Hill, “this coincided with the economic and political uncertainty that dampened investment during that time.”

The December rebound for the Momentum Index brings it back close to the 95.4 reached in July, which was the highest reading reported during 2012.

The group attributes the December increase “to a pickup by [the] commercial building segment, which advanced an impressive 9.0 percent relative to November.”

In addition, the report notes that new plans for stores and office buildings were stronger in December.