Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina all experienced significant declines in the volume of new contract activity during April, according to the latest information from McGraw-Hill Construction, publisher of Southeast Construction

The overall value of new Georgia contracts signed in April for future construction fell 57% compared to the same period of a year ago. The total value of new contracts for the month was nearly $690.7 million, compared to last April’s $1.6 billion.

During the month, all three markets showed significant declines. The residential category fell the most, dropping 62% for a total of about $259.6 million. That compares to last year’s total of $684.9 million. The nonresidential category dropped 57% to total $329.1 million for the month. Meanwhile, Georgia's nonbuilding sector, which includes infrastructure projects, declined 30% to total nearly $102 million.

For the year to date, Georgia activity is now 49% behind the first four months of 2008, with approximately $3.1 billion in new contracts so far, compared to the nearly $6.2 billion at the same time last year.

In North Carolina, meanwhile, contract activity declined 27% in April, for an overall total of roughly $1.3 billion, down from last April’s $1.8 billion.

Despite that downturn, there was some positive news. The nonresidential sector improved by 12% in April, compared to last April, for a $742.8-million total. The other two markets dropped, however.

The residential sector fell to less than half of last April’s total. The most recent figure of $437.9 million for this sector was 56% behind last April’s total, which had been $986.2 million. The nonbuilding sector fell by just 6%, and totaled $147.2 million for the month.

For the year-to-date, North Carolina’s overall contract activity is 51% behind 2008’s pace.

In South Carolina, April contracts fell by an overall rate of 41%. The state’s total was $459.7 million, down from the year-ago tally of $776.4 million.

The residential sector continued its slide, falling 46% in April for a $329.1-million monthly total. The nonresidential sector fell by 10% to tally $102.3 million for the month. The value of contracts in the nonbuilding sector fell by 43% compared to a year ago and totaled $28.3 million.

For the year-to-date, South Carolina’s overall contract activity is 56% behind last year’s pace, with approximately $1.7 billion in new contracts for the first four months of the year.