Construction markets are off to a slow start in 2011 after falling 2% last year, according to McGraw-Hill Construction’s estimates for the dollar value of new construction starts in January. MHC estimates that total construction in the first month of the year was running at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $423.4 billion, or 6% less than January 2010’s pace. The non-residential building market was the most sluggish, falling 13% off last year’s pace, while the homebuilding market was down 7%. “For total construction starts to register growth in 2011, it will require more upward movement from housing after the tenuous gains witnessed during 2010. It will also require some stability for commercial building,” says Robert Murray, MHC’s chief economist.