Construction employment continued to shrink in most American communities, according to the Associated General Contractors.

The association reports that 313 out of 337 metro areas lost construction jobs between January 2009 and January 2010.

“It’s difficult to imagine that many regions will bounce back when so many construction workers are unemployed,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “Worse, with virtually every city suffering significant construction job losses, there’s nowhere to hide from what is clearly a construction depression.”

Simonson noted that Phoenix again lost more construction jobs than any other city in America. Steubenville, Ohio and Weirton, W.Va., experienced the largest percentage decline in construction employment (44 percent), followed by Grand Junction, Colo., (34 percent); Las Vegas (32 percent); Napa, Calif. (32 percent); and Santa Cruz, Calif. (31 percent).

Eau Claire, Wis., added 500 construction jobs, the most between January 2009 and January 2010, and experienced the largest percentage increase (23 percent). Other cities adding construction jobs included Ithaca, N.Y. (9 percent); Michigan City, Ind. (6 percent); Waterbury, Conn. (5 percent); and Grand Forks, N.D. and Minn. (5 percent).

The construction association economist noted that 230 metropolitan areas experienced double-digit percentage decreases in construction employment while no city experienced a double-digit increase in construction employment. Meanwhile, 18 cities nationwide lost more than 10,000 construction jobs between January 2009 and 2010.

Simonson said the figures underscore the need for new investments in infrastructure as well as new tax incentives designed to stimulate private sector demand.

“If we can’t find a way to keep what’s left of the industry working, construction job losses are only going to get worse,” he said.