Construction employment increased in 152 out of 339 Metro areas between March 2012 and March 2013, declined in 126 and was stagnant in 61, according to a new analysis of federal employment data released today by the Associated General Contractors of America.

Association officials noted that many metro areas are adding jobs as construction spending increased 4.8%, or $38.9B, during the same time frame.

“Today’s figures on employment by metro area and construction spending nationally in March highlight the uneven and fragile recovery that construction is experiencing,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “The totals are up on a year-over-year basis, and should continue to improve during the remainder of 2013, but not every sector or region will do well.”

Pascagoula, Miss., added the highest percentage of new construction jobs (47%, 1,700 jobs) followed by Fargo, N.D. (21%, 1,300 jobs); Merced, Calif. (19%, 300 jobs); Anchorage, Alaska (18%, 1,500 jobs); Corpus Christi, Texas (18%, 4,000 jobs) and Salinas, Calif. (18%, 700 jobs).

Dallas-Plano-Irving, Texas (12,000 jobs, 11%) added the most jobs. Other areas adding a large number of jobs included Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, Texas (8,500 jobs, 5%); Baltimore-Towson, Md. (7,700 jobs, 12%) and Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, Calif. (7,500 jobs, 7%).

The largest job losses were in Chicago-Joliet-Naperville, Ill. (-2,700 jobs, -3%) and Northern Virginia (-2,700 jobs, -4%); followed by Cincinnati-Middletown, Ohio-Ky.-Ind. (-2,600 jobs, -7%); Detroit-Livonia-Dearborn, Mich. (-2,300 jobs, -14%) and Raleigh-Cary, N.C. (-2,200 jobs, -8%).

Monroe, Mich. (-19%, -500 jobs) lost the highest percentage. Other areas experiencing large percentage declines in construction employment included Rockford, Ill. (-18%, -700 jobs); Bellingham, Wash. (-15%, -1,000 jobs) and Pocatello, Idaho (-15%, -200 jobs).

Simonson noted that construction spending nationally in March was 4.8% higher than in March 2012, but down 1.7% from a month earlier, according to new Census Bureau data. Only private residential construction spending grew in both time periods, rising 0.4% for the month and 18% year-over-year.

Private nonresidential spending retreated 1.5% from the February level, but increased 2.8% from March 2012. Public construction activity dropped 4.1% and 5.4%, respectively.

“For the rest of the year, the best performing categories are likely to be multifamily housing, power and energy, manufacturing, warehouses and private transportation while most public segments will continue to languish,” Simonson added.

“For the year as a whole, I expect both residential and private nonresidential construction spending to top 2012 totals by 10 to 15%, while public construction will slip 2 to 5%.”