Construction employment is a mixed bag in the southwest, according to the Associated General Contractors’ monthly analysis of data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The Good: Arizona saw 119,700 construction jobs in Aug. 2012, a 6.7% gain over the same month in 2011. Arizona ranked #8 among all states in job growth over the previous year. The good news was tempered by a slight drop of 500 jobs from July to August 2012, however.

The Bad: New Mexico’s construction employment fell by 2,900, or 6.8%, in just one month from July to August – the worst drop in all 50 states plus D.C. The state’s 39,600 jobs also fell below the same month last year, when there were 43,000 construction jobs, the third worst drop in the U.S. Which southwest state could top this dubious distinction? Read on…

The Ugly: Nevada lost 1,100 jobs, or 2.3% of its construction workforce, between July and August. But the state’s year-over-year loss was 10%, a drop of 5,200 jobs to 46,700. Nevada was second only to Alaska in the largest drop between August 2011 and August 2012.

Overall, construction employment declined in 30 states from August 2011 to August 2012 and in 26 states in the past month. AGC officials blamed the drop on Congress failing to enact long-term water infrastructure measures, address transportation funding challenges, or set tax levels for future years.

“Construction employment continues to decline in many states as key tax and infrastructure decisions languish in Washington,” says Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist, in a statement. “Thousands more construction workers could be employed today in states across the country if we had long-term federal tax and infrastructure programs in place.”

Of the 21 states/districts that added jobs over the past 12 months, D.C. fared the best with a 14.9% jump. North Dakota and Nebraska also saw double-digit percentage gains over last year. Texas alone added nearly 40,000 jobs, the most of any state.

Arkansas, Hawaii and Mississippi saw the biggest percentage gains out of the 25 states/districts that added jobs between July and August.

You can view the employment data by each state here.

Follow ENR_SW on Twitter