December Construction Numbers Look Good

January 11, 2016

The construction industry rang out 2015 on a good note.  The Dodge Momentum Index rose 4.1 percent in December, and job growth in the industry was strong for a third consecutive month.

The Momentum Index is a monthly measure of the first report for nonresidential building projects in planning, which have been shown to lead construction spending for nonresidential buildings by a full year.

Accounting for the December jump in the Index was a 4.7 percent increase in institutional projects and a 3.6 percent increase in commercial projects. Overall, the Index finished 2015 up 2.4 percent from its reading at the end of 2014.

According to Dodge, “renewed growth in planning activity for the commercial sector is expected to take place in 2016, supported by strong industry fundamentals such as vacancy rates and employment. Institutional projects at the planning stage jumped 15.8 percent in December compared to the same month a year ago, helped by the passage of recent construction bond measures and the improved fiscal health of state and local governments.”

The construction industry gained 45,000 jobs in December, with specific jumps in specialty trade contractors (+29,000) and in construction of buildings (+10,000). Over the entire year, construction added 263,000 jobs, compared with an addition of 338,000, jobs in 2014.