Construction planning numbers jump despite recession fears

Dive Brief:

  • The Dodge Momentum Index, a benchmark that measures nonresidential building planning, increased 5.7% in September largely due to an influx of data center and education construction, according to Dodge Data & Analytics.
  • The September reading landed less than 5% below an all-time high, the latest sign of the construction industry dismissing recession fears, said David Reaves, Dodge senior economist.
  • “The gain in the momentum index and its components in September reassures us that despite whispers of recession, owners and developers are still looking to move forward with projects to meet demand,” said Reaves.

Dive Insight:

Demand for data center construction remains strong, but growing pains around the supply chain and inflation could mute the pace of building in the sector, said Reaves. The commercial component of the momentum index increased 2.9% in September largely due to data center construction, according to Dodge.

“Certain subsectors have shown resilience since the pandemic’s onset, such as data center projects, and continue to stream into the planning pipeline,” said Reaves. “However, looming challenges still remain for the sector, including supply shortages and the rising cost of materials that could chip away at the flow of new projects if inflation is not tempered.”

Institutional projects in planning rose 11.7%, largely due to a jump in research and development laboratory projects in the education sector, with solid contributions from health care and recreation builds entering the planning process, according to the report.

Courtesy of Dodge Data & Analytics


Thirty-nine projects with a value of $100 million or more entered planning in September, according to the release. Year-over-year, the momentum index was 26% higher than September 2021. The commercial component and institutional component increased 25% and 28% from one year ago, respectively.

The leading commercial projects included a $500 million data center campus on the Tech Park at Brambleton site in Ashburn, Virginia, and the $500 million construction of two warehouse buildings at the Matrix Global Logistics Park’s West Campus in Bloomfield, New York.

The leading institutional projects were the $311 million Shoshone-Bannock Casino in Mountain Home, Idaho, and a $300 million laboratory project in Somerville, Massachusetts.

A chart shows the movement of the Dodge Momentum Index over time.

Courtesy of Dodge Data & Analytics



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