Washington and Los Angeles led the nation in new job growth last year, while Houston and Dallas had the biggest job losses among major cities.

The Washington area gained 74,800 jobs between March 1986 and March 1987, according to M-PF Research Inc. of Dallas. Los Angeles created 97,100 new jobs. Atlanta was third, with 73,600 new jobs.

Houston lost 75,400 jobs in the year; Dallas lost 31,500.

The West and Northeast led the nation in job growth, according to M-PF Research. The South had the lowest overall job gain, due to losses in Texas, Louisiana and Oklahoma. Texas lost more than 150,000 jobs in the year -- more than the total remaining employment in Corpus Christi.

"While the results of the oil recession have been obvious in Houston, Oklahoma City, Tulsa and New Orleans for several years, the slowdown in regional commerce has now begun to hurt the economies of Dallas-Fort Worth, San Antonio and Austin, which are not true energy markets," M-PF Research's report concludes.

Analysts say that the drop in employment in the Dallas area primarily is due to less construction work.

During the year measured, Dallas construction permits declined in all building sectors, according to M-PF Research. The sharpest drops were in construction of new office and apartment buildings.