Construction employment declined in 236 out of 337 metropolitan areas between September 2009 and September 2010, according to the Associated General Contractors of America. The number of metro areas adding jobs – 56 – matched the previous month’s data, indicating the sector remains weak more than a year after the official end of the recession, said association officials.

“The recession may have ended for the overall economy, but not for construction in most metro areas,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “Despite tremendous short-term help from the stimulus, this industry is a long way from experiencing a recovery.”

The Chicago area lost15 percent of its construction jobs, more than any other metro area. Napa, Calif., lost the highest percentage with 33 percent. Other areas experiencing large declines in construction employment included Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Houston and Seattle.

Columbus, Ohio added more construction jobs than any other metro area, up 7 percent. Hanford-Corcoran, Calif., added the highest percentage of jobs with 33 percent. Other areas adding jobs included Pittsburgh, Penn.; the cities of Bethesda, Rockville, and Frederick in Maryland; Kansas City, Kan.; and Lawton, Okla.(300 jobs, 18 percent). Simonson added that construction employment was unchanged for the year in another 45 areas.

“Washington’s failure to pass long-delayed infrastructure bills, set annual tax rates or address costly red tape and regulations is undermining any benefits that came from the stimulus,” said Stephen Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer. “Our worry is that Washington’s failures will make a bad construction employment situation even worse.”