A survey indicates confidence among businesses about hiring new staff has fallen to a nine year low.
The Hudson recruitment company report says over the last six months, almost 8% fewer businesses expect to take on extra employees.
Hudson's Auckland general manager Roman Rogers says that is the lowest level recorded since the survey began in 1999.
Despite the drop in confidence, Roman Rogers says the survey shows that more than 80% of employers intend to retain current staff levels or increase them.
He said the shocks of the past few months have battered employers' confidence and made it difficult for them to forecast demand.
Mr Rogers says the drop in confidence does not seem to be affecting the IT industry, or in healthcare.
However industries like manufacturing, retail, tourism and hospitality are feeling the pinch.
He said the South Island is having the toughest time as it is heavily reliant on the agriculture and manufacturing sectors.