Employment in the construction industry increased by 37,000 in March, according to a study of federal figures by the Associated General Contractors of America.

For the year to date, construction employment has increased by 301,000, AGC officials said. Total U.S. construction employment stood at 6.7 million — the highest figures since December 2008, the association said.

Construction spending in February increased on a year-over-year basis, another indication the industry is returning to health.

"These two reports confirm that demand for construction is robust and well-balanced among residential, private nonresidential and public segments," said Ken Simonson, the association's chief economist. "Compared with the same month a year ago, the industry is adding workers at more than double the rate of the overall economy, and construction spending continues to rise at a double-digit pace."