The Dodge Momentum Index (DMI) declined by 5.1% to 180.9 in April from March’s revised score of 190.6. The decrease coincides with declining economic conditions and ongoing banking uncertainties, states Sarah Martin, associate director of forecasting at Dodge Construction Network (DCN).

The DMI is a monthly measure of the initial report for nonresidential building projects in planning, shown to lead construction spending for nonresidential buildings by a full year.

In April, the commercial component of the DMI fell by 8%, and the institutional component improved by 0.3%.

“On par with our expectations, the DMI continued to recede in April …” says Martin. “Weaker commercial planning is driving the [index’s] decline, as it is more exposed to real-time economic changes than the largely publicly funded institutional segment.”

Commercial Planning Slows

DCN officials report that commercial planning in April declined because of sluggish office, hotel and retail activity. Though institutional planning improved slightly in April, it remained relatively flat due to weak education planning.

A total of 16 projects valued at $100 million or more entered planning in April. The largest commercial projects included a $268 million warehouse in El Dorado Hills, Calif., and a $170 million hotel in New York City. The $450 million Desert Diamond Casino in Glendale, Ariz., and the $350 million Global Energy Park research and development laboratory in Golden, Colo., led the way in the institutional segment.