Construction employment showed continued signs of stabilization in several Midwest states in November, with Missouri (9.8%, 10,000 jobs) and Wisconsin (4.3%, 4,000 jobs) leading the way in year-over-year comparisons, according to data compiled by Arlington, Va.-based Associated General Contractors of America (AGC).

Illinois, a leader in job losses during the recession, also fared well (2.6%, 4,700 jobs), as did Michigan (2%, 2,500 jobs), despite ongoing fiscal crisis in Detroit.

On a percentage basis, employment gains in Missouri were the third greatest in the nation.

Indiana (-3.4%, -4,100 jobs) and Ohio (-2.9%, -5,200 jobs) logged employment declines in November, continuing a trend begun earlier last year as demand for product from both states began to wane. Losses in Indiana weren't as steep as in October, when the state logged the greatest declines in the nation (-9.5%, -11,800 jobs), both in raw numbers and on a percentage basis.

Employment in major metro areas tended to mirror that of their respective states. Kansas City, Mo. (13%, 2,700 jobs) and Milwaukee (10%, 2,400 jobs) showed the greatest percentage gains in the region, followed by St. Louis (6%, 3,600 jobs) and Chicago (3%, 4,000 jobs).

The upswing is particularly welcome in Chicago, which sustained substantial job losses during the recession. Since then, its economy has struggled as a result overbuilt markets and poor fiscal conditions.

Employment losses in major metro areas included Cincinnati (-10%, -4,000 jobs), Cleveland -3%, 1,000 jobs), Indianapolis (-2%, -800 jobs) and Detroit (-1%, -200 jobs).

In all, construction employment increased in 211 out of 339 metro areas, with only 19 areas surpassing earlier peaks.