New job figures have Northland union delegates nervous about employment prospects for people in the region.
Statistics from Trade Me Jobs show while growth in the job market has slowed nationwide, advertised vacancies are up 11.4 per cent year-on-year.
The Northland region experienced a 7.9 per cent drop in job listings in the final quarter of last year compared with the previous quarter.
But listings were up 5.8 per cent on the same period in 2011.
First Union general secretary Robert Reid said it was still difficult to get a job in Northland.
"It's an area of high unemployment anyway, and many of the jobs that people are getting are quite precarious and casual and have fewer hours than people would like," Mr Reid said.
"[They're] often through labour-hire agencies so they don't know from day-to-day whether they've got a job or not.
"That's typical throughout the country, but certainly our feedback would be that it's just that much more difficult on all those points in the North."
Head of Trade Me Jobs Pete Ashby said the national figures were only a slight drop from the previous quarter, but he had expected a stronger result.
"We'd hoped to show better growth, but double-digit growth isn't to be scoffed at."
The analysis of more than 42,000 roles advertised in the last quarter of 2012 also revealed a 9.7 per cent increase in applications per job, creating an "employers' market" in many sectors.
The figures came as the Government announced the number of people on benefits was at the lowest level since 2008.
Social Development Minister Paula Bennett said beneficiary numbers fell by nearly 12,000 in the last year.
"But with 339,095 people on benefits in New Zealand, there is much more work to do."
Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei said a fall in the number of unemployment beneficiaries while unemployment itself was rising raised concerns about whether government welfare changes were preventing Kiwis getting the help they needed.
"It's unusual that at the same time the number of people who are out of work is rising, the number of people getting unemployment benefits is falling."