The latest confidence survey shows people are feeling more secure about their jobs but remain downbeat about opportunities in the future.
The Westpac McDermott Miller Employment Confidence Index rose to 98.9 in the September quarter, up from 96.2 in the June quarter.
A number below 100 indicates pessimists outnumber optimists.
Employment confidence in Canterbury has bounced back and again leads the rest of the country.
Wespac senior economist Felix Delbruck says it is another sign that the economy is becoming increasingly 'two-speed' with regions other than Canterbury weighed down by many negative factors.
"We had a surprisingly high unemployment number in the latest labour market figures, but even beyond that, we're still in the early stages of an economic recovery (and the) global situation is still pretty uncertain.
"People are still working off some of the legacies of the previous housing boom and the recession."