New figures published this month lay bare the devastating impact of the economic downturn on Scotland's construction industry, with 62,500 jobs lost in the space of five years.

The number of job losses experienced by the building sector outstrips the total number of jobs lost from the Scottish economy over that period.

Updated labour market figures from Scotland's Annual Population Survey show the construction sector shed a further 14,500 jobs in the course of 2012, taking total employment within the Scottish industry to 172,700. This is the lowest level of construction employment in Scotland since current records began in 2004.

Commenting on the new figures, Scottish Building Federation executive director Michael Levack said: "We already know about the tough times building firms are currently experiencing. But these figures lay bare the huge extent of the damage done to the construction industry by the economic downturn. Over the past five years, more jobs have been lost from the building sector than from the Scottish economy as a whole. Since 2008, we've lost more than a quarter of our workforce, which is nothing short of staggering."

The Scottish Building Federation is writing to Scottish and UK government Ministers to draw their attention to the new figures and to urge them to take continued action to rebuild industry capacity.

Levack continued: "Job losses of this scale require the Scottish and UK governments to adopt a targeted strategy to rebuild capacity. That must include tax measures such as cutting VAT on building repairs and maintenance to stimulate industry activity. There must be more focused support to help building companies recruit and retain apprentices. We also need to see a sustained effort to prioritise public investment in construction activity and further measures to streamline planning and procurement to get projects off the ground more quickly."