Index Shows U.S. Construction Improves

The Dodge Momentum Index moved 3.4 per cent higher in July to 124.7 from the revised June reading of 120.5. The index, issued by Dodge Data & Analytics, is a monthly measure of the first (or initial) report for U.S. non-residential building projects in planning, which have been shown to lead construction spending for non-residential buildings by a full year. During the month, the commercial component increased 5.3 per cent while the institutional component was unchanged. July’s increase was the first in all of 2020. Since December 2019, the index has lost 18 per cent with most of the decline coming in April when the COVID-19 pandemic led to numerous business shutdowns across the country. The pullback has largely come from institutional planning, rather than commercial plans. The institutional component is currently 28 per cent below its December 2019 peak and 21 per cent lower than its year ago level. Commercial planning is down 13 per cent from its January 2020 peak, but is actually one per cent higher than its year-ago level.