Compared to the same period of a year ago, the value of new contracts signed in July for future construction fell by 21% overall in North Carolina, and by 40% in South Carolina, according to the latest information from McGraw-Hill Construction, publisher of Southeast Construction. For the month, only North Carolina�s nonbuilding market showed any growth.

In North Carolina, the overall total for new project starts was roughly $1.25 billion, down from last July’s total of nearly $1.6 billion. The residential sector declined again, falling 27% compared to last July to total $563.8 million for the month. The nonresidential sector was also negative, dropping 47% for a $298.9-million tally. The nonbuilding sector – which includes infrastructure projects – increased again, this time by 54%, to total $389.8 million for the month.

For the year-to-date, North Carolina’s overall contract activity is 41% behind 2008’s pace. The nonbuilding sector remains the furthest behind, with its $1.3-billion total an estimated 52% behind last year’s pace. Residential is now 48% behind for the year, with $3.2 billion in new contracts through July. The nonresidential category is 23% behind ’08, with approximately $3.1 billion in new contracts so far.

In South Carolina, July’s 40% decline resulted in a monthly total of nearly $733.8 million.

The residential sector continued its slide, falling 22% in July compared to the same period of a year ago, for a total of roughly $316.3 million. The nonresidential sector fell 58%, to tally $246.7 million. The value of contracts in the nonbuilding sector declined by 23% compared to a year ago to total $170.7 million.

For the year-to-date, South Carolina’s overall contract activity is 47% behind last year’s pace, with nearly $3.8 billion in new contracts for the first seven months of the year. The nonresidential category is 41% behind 2008, with roughly $1.3 billion in new contracts. The residential sector is 45% behind ‘08’s pace, with a $1.8-billion total. Nonbuilding is down 60%, with a $615.3-million tally.