Scottish builders estimate that they made 8,500 construction staff redundant in the first eight months of 2009.
A Scottish Building Federation survey found that on average, firms had reduced their workforces by 4% since the turn of the year.
Based on this figure, the organisation calculated that 8,500 workers had been made redundant.
Similar research conducted last year calculated an 8% reduction and the loss of approximately 20,000 jobs.
The 2009 survey also found that, of all the firms which responded, 51% had cut staff while only 14% had recruited.
Scottish Building Federation chief executive Michael Levack said a significant number of construction companies were “genuinely fearful that things may get worse before they get better”.
Levack spoke as the federation published the results of its latest quarterly, the Scottish Construction Monitor. The federation surveyed 83 firms and found that confidence in the industry had improved only marginally on the previous three months.
Some 59% of firms which responded were less confident about prospects for the next 12 months compared with the previous year.
Levack said: “Clearly, the picture across the industry is not uniformly negative. A minority of firms are weathering the economic downturn well and taking on more workers as a result.”