Dodge Momentum Index Up 8.4 Percent in April; Construction Employment Down
The Dodge Momentum Index, released by McGraw Hill Construction, advanced 8.4 percent in April, according to Associated General Contractors of America. The Momentum Index retreated in February and March, following the steady gains that were reported during most of 2013. With the April increase, the Index resumed its upward track, up 17.8 percent year-over-year. A harsh winter helped slow overall economic growth in the first months of 2014, but prospects for commercial development are again showing improvement, as reflected by the growing volume of projects at the planning stage, according to AGC.
Construction employment dropped in March, month-over-month and year-over-year, with hires representing 4.4 percent of construction employment, seasonally adjusted, in March, 4.9 percent in February and 5.9 percent in March 2013. Because severe weather in much of the country in February may have disrupted construction starts and completion of projects, the year-over-year comparisons are more likely to reveal actual trends than the one-month differences, according to AGC. The dropoff in the hire rate despite a nearly level rate of job openings may indicate contractors are having more difficulty finding qualified workers, as many reports suggest.