New Zealand job advertisements fell in December, with the Christchurch labour market slowed with more delay's to the city's reconstruction, according to the ANZ New Zealand job advertisements series.

Job ads fell a seasonally adjusted 2.3 per cent in December, after a 0.8 per cent increase in November.

The decline was led by a 4.5 per cent decrease in newspaper listings, while internet advertising fall 1.8 per cent. The number of job ads has fallen in three out of the last fourth months.

In the main centres Canterbury experienced the strongest growth in job adverts, up 2.5 per cent, while Wellington advertisements fell 7.5 per cent and Auckland 2 per cent.


"Growth in job advertising in Canterbury has flattened out, but Christchurch remains unambiguously the strongest main center," said Steve Edwards, economist at ANZ New Zealand.

This week the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research's quarterly survey of business opinion showed local trading activity had slowed and business confidence dimmed in the December quarter as the flurry of work in the wake of the Canterbury earthquakes slowed.

Still, survey showed continued resilience in the labour market, with firms' actual hiring and intentions to take on new staff improving, though firms are finding it easier to find unskilled staff rather than skilled workers.

That was mirrored by a Hudson Report Employment and HR Trends survey, which showed hiring intentions were at an eight-year high in the South Island, and more than double the national average.

Employees are less upbeat about the market, with the Westpac-McDermott Miller Confidence Index registered a two-year low last week.

That index fell 4.6 points to 99.6 in the December quarter, the lowest level since June 2009, indicating the number of pessimists outnumber optimists amongst employees, as unemployment rose 0.1 per cent to 6.6 per cent for the September quarter according to Statistics New Zealand.