The Dodge Momentum Index fell 0.5 percent in April to 144.3 (2000=100) from the revised March reading of 145.1. 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 retreat in April was the result of the commercial component falling 1.0 percent while the institutional component rose a scant 0.2 percent.

The Momentum Index has clearly lost some impetus over the last 12 months. The overall Momentum Index is down 8.5 percent since April 2018, with the commercial component 4.7 percent lower and the institutional component 13.9 percent lower. However, over the past several months the Momentum Index has moved in a crab-like fashion with neither strong gains or losses. This suggests that there continues to be a reasonably healthy number of projects in the planning pipeline to support a moderate level of construction activity in the coming months.

In April, 18 projects each with a value of $100 million or more entered planning. The leading commercial projects were a $418 million Microsoft data center in Des Moines and a $300 million warehouse in Staten Island, N.Y. The leading institutional projects were a $300 million hospital in New York City and a $200 million hospital in Beachwood, Ohio.