McGraw-Hill Construction has compiled its initial tally for construction starts during 2010 and estimates that the total dollar value of all starts declined 2% to $412 billion. The non-residential building market was down 9%, while the heavy and highway markets were down 1%, despite massive federal stimulus spending on those markets. “The pace of contracting has stabilized after the steep correction of prior years, although renewed expansion for total construction has yet to take hold,” says MHC’s chief economist Robert Murray. The commercial market declined 17%, a relative improvement over 2009’s 43% decline. Other commercial markets were harder-hit, including year-to-year declines of 21% for warehouses, 24% for office buildings and 29% for hotels. Public works declined 4% in 2010, which “reflected fading stimulus support,” says Murray. The residential building market sector rose 7% in 2010, but that has to be measured against a 71% decline in the dollar value of the market between 2005 and 2009, says Murray.