A Whangarei mother who has been unemployed since May says while she is surprised unemployment rate has reached a two-year high in Northland, job hunting in the region is "disheartening".

But a Northland economist says while the figures are a concern - there was no need for panic as the number of people in employment had also increased.

The latest Statistics New Zealand figures for the region show the unemployment rate was at a two year high with 9100 people (10.6 per cent) searching for work in the June quarter - more than double the national unemployment rate of 5.1 per cent.

Steph Partridge, a mother of two, has been out of work since May and has been trying to find a part-time job through any avenue she can. She's searched through online job listings has handed her CV in to shops and has tried Work and Income, even though she does not want a benefit.


"A lot of the jobs popping up I can't do because I can't work weekends and I can't start before 9am. I've put my name forward for real estate, I've put my name forward for whatever pops up."

Ms Partridge lost her job after the business she was working at sold. She has been searching for jobs since it went up for sale in October last year. While she bakes cakes for sale on the side, she said it was more of a hobby at this stage and did not earn her much income.

She applies for one or two jobs a week. Out those jobs she has had only three interviews, was offered one job but had to turn it down.

Northland Regional Council economist Darryl Jones said people should not panic about the statistics as the employment rate had also increased from 55.1 per cent (72,700 people) in the March quarter to 57.8 per cent (76,700 people) in the June quarter.

"I think it would be a worry if the employment rate had gone down while the unemployment rate had increased, but it hasn't."

Mr Jones believed there were a few reasons why there had been an increase in both employment and unemployment. He said there was a pick-up in the construction industry and more people getting jobs may have encouraged those who weren't previously looking for employment to do so.

He said there had also been an increase in people moving to Whangarei from overseas. He said in the year ending June 2016, 785 people had migrated to Northland - many of those who returned to the region from Australia.

"No doubt there is a concern because people who want jobs can't find them, but the number of people who are employed in the region has also gone up, and that's positive," he said.