The public sector in Scotland lost over 10,000 workers last year, new figures show.
During the final three months of the year, the sector employed 580,400 people, down 10,300 on the last quarter of 2011.
The public sector includes devolved areas such as the NHS, local government and the Scottish Government civil service, and reserved areas such as the Ministry of Defence, HM Revenues and Customs and the Department of Work and Pensions.
It accounted for almost a quarter of all employment (23.5%) in the final quarter of last year.
The decrease comes as official figures show a rise in employment in the private sector.
The Scottish Government has a policy of no compulsory redundancies and has encouraged local authorities to also avoid compulsory job cuts.
Total employment in the devolved public sector fell from 489,700 in the last quarter of 2011 to 485,100 in the same period of 2012.
The overall decrease was driven by a 1.8% fall in local government employment, a 5% fall at further education colleges and a 0.9% drop in the civil service over the year.
Devolved public sector staffing in the NHS increased by 0.9%, while employment in the reserved public sector in Scotland was down 5.7%.