A survey of more than 1000 employers shows firms' hiring intentions have eased.
A net 20% of respondents to the Hudson survey plan to hire permanent staff in the next three months, down 0.5% from the previous quarter.
Hudson New Zealand's executive general manager Marc Burrage says the slight dip follows five consecutive quarters of growth, and isn't overly concerning.
Mr Burrage says the number of firms planning to hire more temporary or contract staff rose almost 2% to a net 15%, which is a positive sign for the job market.
He says South Island employers' hiring intentions had softened even before the earthquake hit last month, which was probably due to the collapse of South Canterbury Finance and a lull in new manufacturing orders.
Mr Burrage expects hiring in Canterbury to be put on hold, while firms assess the damage, and resume normal operations.