Employment confidence has fallen for a third consecutive quarter, as the labour market recovery remains fragile.
The Westpac McDermott Miller Employment Confidence Index fell 0.7 points to 98.9 in the three months to the end of March.
A result below 100 indicates there are more pessimists than optimists.
The latest reading is the lowest since mid-2009.
Westpac senior economist Felix Delbruck says people are less optimistic about their own job situation, and more pessimistic for the labour market as a whole.
"If you take it at face value it means that we haven't really seen much in the way of a labour market recovery yet," he says.
Mr Delbruck says wage growth appears to be rising slowly, but there aren't any signs of widespread wage or inflation pressures in Canterbury.
The survey was conducted from 1 to 11 March, with a sample size of 1563, and a margin of error of 2.5%.