Construction employment expanded in 192 metro areas, declined in 84 and was stagnant in 63 between December 2012 and December 2013, according to a new analysis of federal employment data released today by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC). Association officials say that even with so many metro areas adding jobs for the year, only 20 metro areas topped previous construction employment peaks for the month.

“Growing demand for apartment and single-family construction was behind a lot of the growth in most metro areas last year,” says Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist, noting that private residential construction spending soared by 18 percent from December 2012 to December 2013, while public sector spending slipped by 1 percent.

“Employment in December 2013 was held down in many areas by unusually snowy or cold weather. With the weather and the economy both likely to improve soon, even more metros should post employment gains in the coming months,” he adds.

Santa Ana-Anaheim-Irvine, Calif., added the largest number of construction jobs in the past year (11,200 jobs, 15 percent); followed by Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, Ga. (8,400 jobs, 10 percent); San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos, Calif. (5,700 jobs, 10 percent), and Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Fla. (5,700 jobs, 11 percent). The largest percentage gains occurred in Steubenville-Weirton, Ohio-W.Va. (31 percent, 500 jobs); Lake Charles, La. (28 percent, 2,700 jobs); and Fargo, N.D.-Minn. (25 percent, 1,800 jobs).

The largest job losses from December 2012 to December 2013 were in Las Vegas-Paradise, Nev. (-3,300 jobs, -8 percent); followed by Edison-New Brunswick, N.J. (-3,200 jobs, -9 percent); Cincinnati-Middletown, Ohio-Ky. (-2,900 jobs, -8 percent); and Gary, Ind. (-2,800 jobs, -15 percent). The largest percentage decline for the past year was in Modesto, Calif. (-29 percent, -1,900 jobs); Visalia-Porterville, Calif. (-13 percent, -500 jobs); Anniston-Oxford, Ala. (-11 percent, -100 jobs); Mobile, Ala. (-11 percent, -1,300 jobs); and Rockford, Ill. (-11 percent, -400 jobs), according to the report.