McGraw-Hill Construction, publisher of Southeast Construction, reported that the value of new Florida contracts signed in December for future construction fell by 8% overall, compared to the same period of a year ago. The total of all new contracts was slightly more than $1.7 billion.

Both the residential and nonresidential categories were negative. The value of residential starts slipped 11% to total $611.1 million for the month. Nonresidential starts plummeted 45% to total just $431.4 million. On the bright side, the nonbuilding category—which includes infrastructure projects—soared 70% to deliver nearly $675.3 million in new contracts during December.

Those overall December trends mirrored the category totals for all of 2009. According to McGraw-Hill Construction, 2009’s residential market showed the steepest decline, dropping 39% compared to 2008 to total slightly less than $7.5 billion for the year. That decline made it the smallest of the three construction categories for 2009.

Nonresidential contracts represented the largest work total for 2009, with more than $8.9 billion in new projects. However, that total was 35% off of its 2008 tally, when nonresidential delivered an estimated $13.7 billion in new contracts.

The nonbuilding sector showed significant improvement, however, jumping 25% in 2009, compared to 2008, for more than $8.1 billion in new contracts.

Overall, Florida’s 2009 total construction figure ended at just over $24.5 billion, or 24% lower than 2008’s final tally of nearly $32.4 billion.