A Department of Labour survey of Canterbury businesses shows the majority of sectors have had to lay off workers as a result of the earthquakes.
Seventeen hundred employers still operating were surveyed, with the aim of providing planners with better information about prospects for the province.
The survey shows the professional, scientific and technical sector lost 25% of staff while the manufacturing and hospitality sectors each lost 20%.
Overall, 40% of businesses experienced a drop in revenue due to the earthquakes, with just 20% seeing revenue increase.
Despite this, most firms remained positive about their future.
Canterbury Employers Chamber of Commerce chief executive Peter Townsend says help is on the way with $30 billion worth of insurance payouts due to arrive soon.
Mr Townsend says Christchurch City Council's draft Central City Plan will be crucial to ensuring businesses decide to remain in the city.
While the latest survey did not talk to firms that have relocated outside the province, the Department of Labour hopes to include these businesses in a survey currently underway on the impact of the earthquakes on the rest of the country.