For the first time since the start of the economic downturn, every state and the District of Columbia reported losing construction jobs over the past 12 months, according to a new analysis of state-by-state employment data. The analysis, conducted by the Associated General Contractors of America, found few signs of a construction industry recovery with only six states reporting construction job increases between November 2009 and December 2009.

"There's nowhere for construction workers to turn for relief from job losses and hardship," says Ken Simonson, the association's chief economist. "Sifting through the monthly variations, it is obvious that construction employment is losing ground almost everywhere."

Simonson notes that Nevada experienced the largest annual percentage decrease in construction employment (27.7 percent), followed by Wyoming (23.8 percent), Tennessee (20 percent), Montana (19.6 percent) and Arizona (19 percent). He adds that California had lost more construction jobs (116,100) than any other state during the past year.

Unusually cold and wintry weather throughout most of the country in December contributed to the downward trend in monthly construction employment, Simonson suggests. He says that compared to November reports showing 24 states added construction jobs during the past month, the December report had only six states adding jobs after normal seasonal adjustments (which does not take into account exceptional mild or harsh weather).

Mississippi had the largest monthly percentage increase in construction employment (1.2 percent), followed by Virginia (1.1 percent), Hawaii (1 percent), Oklahoma (1 percent), South Carolina (0.5 percent) and New Mexico (0.2 percent). Meanwhile, Montana had the largest monthly percentage decrease (10.5 percent), followed by North Dakota (9.6 percent), Wyoming (6.8 percent), Nevada (5.7 percent) and Wisconsin (5.5 percent).