As the nation begins to move out of recession, the construction industry is starting to show signs of life — as are some coastal economies. Twenty-nine U.S. states added construction jobs to their net payroll numbers in recent months, according to an analysis by AGC (the Associated General Contractors of America). One coastal state, Massachusetts, was toward the front of the pack, with a 3.8% increase in construction employment (3,900 jobs). But other coastal states posted month-over-month job losses in construction: Maine lost 1,800 jobs (7.7%), Rhode Island lost 700 jobs (4.3%), and South Carolina lost 2,500 jobs (3.1%). Massachusetts is headed for better times, according to an economic forecast by Northeastern University professor Alan Clayton-Matthews, the Boston Globe reports (" Mass. economy speeds up, jobs coming, says forecast," by Robert Gavin): "The Massachusetts economy is recovering at a quickening pace that will lead to more hiring over the next several months, setting the stage for an expansion that could create more then 200,000 jobs over the next five years." And according to another forecast, by the New England Economic Partnership (NEEP), the entire New England region is returning to growth. The Bangor Daily News has the story ("New England economic forecast: Worst over but growth slow," by the Associated Press): "University of New Hampshire economist Ross Gittell, the author of the forecast, says the worst is over and the economy is turning a corner. But it will take an extended period of time to recover the nearly 366,000 jobs lost in New England over the past two years." By contrast, South Carolina's construction job losses are indicative of lingering hard times in Southern coastal economies. But South Carolina's unemployment rate, though still among the highest in the nation, has begun to ease also, reports the Associated Press (" SC jobless rate drops to 11.6 percent in April," by Page Ivey). And coastal counties are faring better than inland counties: "Beaufort County along the coast improved to 7.3 percent from 8.8 percent to record the state's lowest jobless rate," the AP reports. Savannah, Georgia is showing a similar pattern of slow, but distinct, recovery, according to Michael Toma, professor of economics and the director of the Center for Regional Analysis at Armstrong Atlantic State University. "Growth is back, but it's tepid.," Toma told the Savannah Morning News (" Our economy headed upward," by Arlinda Smith Broady). Among the positive signs: An uptick in electrical usage, rising hotel room stays, and job growth in the service sector. Construction employment dropped by 300 jobs in first-quarter 2010, however, pushing the tally of jobs lost since 2006 to 3,000 — and dropping total construction employment down to levels not seen since 1996, according to Toma. (Read Toma's full report, " Economy Treading Water.")