The Dodge Momentum Index fell 3 percent in December to 166.4 (2000=100), down from the revised November reading of 170.7. The Momentum Index, issued by Dodge Construction Network, is a monthly measure of the initial report for nonresidential building projects in planning, which have been shown to lead construction spending for nonresidential buildings by a full year. In December, commercial planning fell 4 percent, and institutional planning slipped 1 percent.
Despite these declines, 2021 was a banner year for the Dodge Momentum Index—despite the lingering risks of COVID-19 and low demand for some types of nonresidential buildings. Throughout the year, the overall Momentum Index increased 23 percent, the strongest annual gain since 2005. Both the commercial and institutional components of the Momentum Index saw similar gains—with their levels of activity reaching 13- and 14-year highs, respectively.
A total of 21 projects with a value of $100 million or more entered planning in December. The leading commercial projects were the $300 million OKANA Resort in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and the $200 million Project Tarpon Amazon distribution center in Daytona Beach, Florida. The leading institutional projects were the $250 million University of Michigan Detroit Center for Innovation in Detroit, and a $150 million laboratory in Lexington, Massachusetts.
The signals provided by the Dodge Momentum Index continue to suggest that construction activity will improve in 2022—and, more importantly, that this growth will be more balanced than what was seen in 2021. However, the ever-present risks of the pandemic and tight labor force will work to counter these trends, leading to moderate growth over the new year.