Construction industry employers predict ongoing decline in new orders and further job losses in the new year.
Those who are gloomier about their prospects over the next 12 months outnumber those who are more optimistic by a factor of three to one, according to a survey by the Scottish Building Federation (SBF).
Michael Levack, chief executive of the Federation, said: "There's strong evidence here to suggest public-sector investment in construction projects has fallen back significantly over the past year. "What's more, our members expect this trend to continue into 2013."
About 8,000 jobs were lost from the industry over the year, the Federation said. Industry confidence was said to have recovered slightly from the middle of the year but remains "firmly in negative territory".
Expectations for publicly-funded construction activity are particularly muted for 2013, with a significant majority of firms expecting new orders to decline across all categories of new public-sector work, the Federation added.
Mr Levack said: "By direct comparison, the private sector is generating more new orders than the public sector. But those firms reporting increased new orders from the private sector are still substantially outnumbered by those who have seen private-sector orders decline over the past 12 months as well.
"Overall, output across all sectors of the industry appears to be shrinking or remaining static. The starkest effect of this continued decline is on the number of people employed by the industry as a whole, which we estimate to have fallen by more than 8,000 in the past year.
"If employers' predictions of continued falling demand in 2013 prove accurate, we could see this loss of jobs and capacity accelerate in the months ahead."
A total of 62 Scottish construction firms completed the survey online or by post during last month. He said extra money committed towards building projects in the Chancellor's autumn budget statement could improve the outlook.
Finance Secretary John Swinney told Parliament on Wednesday that he wants to start a "building boom" with the extra £205 million capital funds. About a quarter of the total will go to housing.