The numbers of employed construction workers grew in 197 metro areas in the past year, far exceeding those where it was flat or shrank, the AGC said.

However, if Congress allows federal highway construction funding to cease, industry unemployment may spike, the Associated General Contractors of America said.

In its analysis of federal employment data, the AGC said construction employment dropped in 87 metro areas and was flat in 55 between March 2013 and last month.

“Much of the country experienced relatively robust growth in construction employment during the past year,” said Ken Simonson, the association's chief economist. “But the fact construction employment remains below prior peak levels in most areas shows just how hard hit the industry was during the downturn and how vulnerable it is to disruptions, such as a potential lapse in federal highway funding.”

Southern California saw particularly strong growth, as did the Dallas metro area.