An extra 5000 people have picked up work in the Bay of Plenty in the last year, contributing to the lowest September quarter unemployment figures in at least the last five years.

Despite almost 10,000 extra working-aged people calling the Bay home in the past two years, employment has outpaced the growth with an extra 13,500 people in work since September 2014.

The unemployment rate has also fallen to a five-year September quarter low of 5.1 per cent, down from 5.8 last year.

Tauranga Chamber of Commerce chief executive Stan Gregec said there had been strong demand for construction-related industries but the city still had a way to go before it could provide for the large number of unemployed or under-employed professionals.


"There are scores of highly skilled professionals in Tauranga who can't find jobs at the level they are qualified for," Mr Gregec said.

"While Tauranga's industries and corporate sector are definitely maturing, we still don't have the scale and depth of industry here that would support a sophisticated highly skilled professional workforce. There are pockets but not much more."

"This a concern, and could mean that these people will not be able to stay in Tauranga or will have to look at options like commuting. Or they will look at starting their own business from here, which is not a bad thing as this is as good a place as any to do that."

"Tauranga is certainly looking at developing itself as a centre for technology and innovation - and wants to attract more highly skilled people here that could be part of this."

Nationally, unemployment fell below 5 per cent for the first time in nearly eight years.

An extra 35,000 people were employed in the September quarter, with half of the growth occurring in Auckland, and a fifth in Otago.