The total dollar value of new construction starts through the first four months of this year were $125 billion, which was the same amount as a year ago.

Source: McGraw-Hill Construction Analytics. Construction contract value cumulative year-to-date throught April 2010.

While the overall numbers were stable, they mask a large swing in market activity.

The housing market is up 34% over last year�s dismal low, while the non-residential building market was down 18% and heavy and highway work was down 2% from a year ago, according to McGraw-Hill Construction data for new construction starts.

Leading the decline in the non-residential building market were monthly declines of 48% for office building work, 40% for health-care facilities, 33% for manfacturing work and 10% for school construction.