Construction employment expanded in 26 states and Washington, D.C., between February and March, the Associated General Contractors of America reported.

The AGC also sited recent federal employment figures that found the states of Arkansas and North Dakota to have more construction workers than they did a year ago.

“It’s too early to tell whether these numbers reflect the start of a positive trend, or the impact of a warm March following a snowy February,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “Even assuming the numbers are heading in the right direction, it is a long climb just to get back to normal for the construction industry.”

Maryland added the most jobs, up 3.7 percent, followed by Pennsylvania, which saw a rise of 2.3 percent. New York, Missouri and Indiana also saw an increase in construction jobs.

During the same period, 22 states lost jobs, and construction employment was unchanged in two states. Texas lost the most jobs, followed by Louisiana, Nevada, Arizona and Colorado.

Association officials said they expected stimulus-funded construction work to provide a needed boost for the construction industry this year. But they cautioned that continued declines in private sector, and state and local construction activity were likely to exceed the amount of stimulus-funded work.

“As much as the stimulus helps, until broader demand for construction expands, our industry will be lucky just to tread water,” Simonson said.