The bad news for Florida contractors returned in April, as the value of new contracts fell by 14% overall, according to McGraw-Hill Construction, publisher of ENR Southeast. The downward slide returned after a strong March—the state’s only positive month for the year—and pushed the latest total for new construction contracts down to approximately $2 billion.

All three sectors declined during April, but nonresidential fell by the greatest percentage. This category’s total dropped 33% compared to the same period of a year ago, for a $401.6-million total. The nonbuilding category, which includes infrastructure projects, declined by 12% and tallied $780.3 million for the month. The value of residential contracts totaled $817.8 million, or 2% lower than the previous April.

On a year-to-date basis, McGraw-Hill Construction estimates the value of 2011 Florida contracts at nearly $7.1 billion through April, or 25% below last year’s pace of more than $9.5 billion.

The nonresidential construction category has declined the most, dropping 38% through the first four months of the year and totaling just over $1.6 billion so far—or $1 billion lower than last year’s $2.6 billion total. The value of nonbuilding contracts is estimated at roughly $2.6 billion, or 30% behind last year’s pace. Residential construction, initially forecast to grow significantly in 2011, is nevertheless 10% behind 2010’s pace, with approximately $2.8 billion in new contracts so far this year.