The Dodge Momentum Index jumped 9.2 percent in December 2020 to 134.6 (2000=100) from the revised November reading of 123.3. 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 commercial component of the Momentum Index rose 14.0 percent while the institutional component rose by 0.3 percent.
The gain in the commercial component of the Momentum Index was heartening even though the increase was mostly the result of a sizeable increase in warehouse planning. The warehouse sector has been one of the few areas of construction that has flourished during the pandemic thanks to increased demand for online shopping. For the full year of 2020, the Dodge Momentum Index lost 4.8 percent from 2019. The institutional component of the Momentum Index dropped 13.5 percent while the commercial component increased 0.8 percent.
In December, 11 projects each with a value of $100 million or more entered planning. The leading commercial projects were the $450 million 50 Allen Plaza office tower in Atlanta and the $426 million Orion Center office project in Albuquerque, N.M. The leading institutional projects were two lab projects associated with the Gateway Innovation Center in Somerville, Mass., valued at $385 million and $300 million.