The value of new North Carolina construction contracts fell 52% in March, for a total of $986.2 million in new work, according to McGraw-Hill Construction, publisher of ENR Southeast.

All construction categories were down markedly for the month, with the nonresidential sector declining the most. That category dropped 71% compared to the same period of a year ago, with about $209.3 million in new contracts. The nonbuilding sector, which includes infrastructure and civil contracts, declined by 61% for a $241.1-million total. Residential contracts were 22% behind last year’s pace, with about $535.9 million in new construction work moving ahead.

For the year-to-date, McGraw-Hill Construction estimates the value of North Carolina contracts at nearly $2.8 billion, or 34% behind 2010’s first-quarter pace.

The nonbuilding category is the furthest behind, with its estimated total of $591.2 million equal to a 47% decline. Nonresidential contracts are 37% behind 2010’s pace, with about $890.8 million in new working moving ahead so far. Residential work totals nearly $1.3 billion, or 22% behind the same period of a year ago.