Thirty-six states lost construction jobs in 2010 as the industry shrank by 93,000 employees nationally, reports the Associated General Contractors of America.

“While it is nice to see the industry adding jobs in the most states since February 2008, the challenges facing this industry are still very severe,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “Despite slight improvements in the construction employment picture, the industry is coping with weak demand, declining stimulus activity and a growing political aversion to investing in aging infrastructure.”

Simonson noted that from November to December, seasonally adjusted employment rose in only 13 states and held steady in Connecticut, even while construction employment nationwide shrunk by 16,000 nationally. Delaware had the largest one-month percentage increase in employment at 1.6 percent, closely followed by Texas, which led in the number of jobs added – approximately 8,700 jobs. Virginia was next, adding 1,300 employees

The largest percentage losses between November and December occurred in West Virginia, which lost 8.4 percent of its construction jobs. West Virginia was followed by North Dakota and Kentucky. New York had the largest number of monthly job losses at 8,900 jobs, followed by Florida and Indiana. Simonson cautioned that the December monthly figures for many states may have been affected by exceptionally bad weather.

The largest percentage drop in year-over-year construction employment occurred in Nevada, which lost 19.1 percent of construction jobs. Only two other states had double-digit percentage declines in 2010: Idaho and Kentucky. Of the 35 states with construction job losses from December 2009 to December 2010, California had the largest number losing 32,900 jobs, California was followed by Florida and Nevada. Construction employment was unchanged over the year in Vermont.

“There’s no doubt new infrastructure investments will help improve the construction employment picture,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer. “More important, those investments will help give the broader business community a much needed competitive advantage by cutting shipping delays and improving operating efficiency.”