The Dodge Momentum Index rose slightly in August, increasing to 118.8 (2000=100) for the month, up 0.2% from the July reading. The improvement in August is on the heels of a 5.7% decline in July, according to McGraw Hill Construction, a division of McGraw Hill Financial.

The Momentum Index 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 momentum index is now 13.9% higher than one year ago and continues to point to recovery in the sector.

The August rise in the momentum index was supported by a 5.0% increase in institutional building plans while a 3.0% drop in commercial plans restrained further growth. Despite the drop in commercial building plans in August, five notable commercial projects valued at $100 million or more entered planning in the month.

Those include the $200-million DaniaLive Marketplace in Dania Beach, Fla.; a $184-million office complex in New York City; the $175-million North First Office complex in San Jose, Calif.; the $110-million Champions Petfood warehouse in Auburn, Ky.; and a $100-million mixed-use development in College Station, Texas.