The San Diego metro area gained 400 construction jobs in December 2016 over the same month in 2015, according to an analysis of federal employment data released Wednesday by the Associated General Contractors of America.

In December 2015, the region had 71,400 such jobs; a year later, the total had risen by 1 percent to 71,800, according to the AGC of America.

That modest growth put San Diego in the top half of the 358 metro areas for which construction employment data was analyzed; it ranked 156th.

San Diego was one of 183 metro areas in which construction employment was up in December, compared with the same month the prior year. Data analyzed from December revealed the lowest number of metro areas with year-over-year job increases since September 2012, according to Ken Simonson, the association's chief economist.

The number of construction jobs in 65 regions was unchanged; construction employment declined in 110 of the metro areas, the data show.

In California, construction employment rose by 3 percent, from 743,600 jobs in the last month of 2015 to 762,300 a year later.

Association officials called the data “disappointing,” and pointed to a drop in “most” infrastructure spending in 2016 as a factor. The association said public spending fell 18 percent over the year for sewage and waste disposal systems, 5.3 percent for transportation facilities such as transit, airports and passenger rail and 0.9 percent for water supply. Public spending for highway and street construction rose 1.5 percent, the AGC of America said.

"There are two main reasons so few areas added construction jobs last year: they couldn't find enough new workers to hire or they couldn't find enough work to require new hiring," Simonson said. "In some markets, the solution is more workforce development measures, while other markets need new demand for construction before firms will begin adding jobs. In particular, spending on critical transportation, sewage and water infrastructure declined last year."

Metro areas with largest job losses

Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, Texas: -11,200 jobs, -5 percent

Orange-Rockland-Westchester, N.Y.: -5,500 jobs, -12 percent

Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, Calif.: -5,200 jobs, -4 percent

Metro areas with largest jobs gains

Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, Colo.: 10,400 jobs, 11 percent

Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, Fla.: 9,700 jobs, 15 percent

Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, Nev.: 8,700 jobs, 16 percent

Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Fla.: 8,700 jobs, 13 percent

Source: Associated General Contractors of America