The Dodge Momentum Index rose 1.6 percent in February to 144.0 from its revised January reading of 141.7. The increase was due to a 4.4-percent jump in institutional planning, while commercial planning slipped slightly, falling 0.3 percent for the month.

The index (with 2000 as the base year), reported by Dodge Data & Analytics, is a monthly measure of the first report for nonresidential building projects in planning, which have been shown to lead construction spending for nonresidential buildings by a full year.

It has now increased for five consecutive months. On a year-over-year basis, the Momentum Index is 22 percent higher, with commercial planning up 28 percent and institutional planning moving 15 percent ahead of last year. This suggests that construction activity will continue to see further growth as the year progresses.

In February, four projects entered planning each with a value that exceeded $100 million.