Job advertising lifted in July, a sign that business intentions to hire people are finally flowing through into action.
A monthly survey by ANZ Bank shows, on a seasonally adjusted basis, the number of jobs advertised online and in newspapers rose 3.5% in July, following a flat month in June.
On an annual basis, the index is now 4.5% higher than it was in July last year.
The growth reflects a monthly increase of 2.3% in internet ads, bolstered by an 11% lift in newspaper advertising, which is much smaller.
But the figures are coming off a low base and the Council of Trade Unions said unemployment remained high, while many more workers wanted extra hours.
It said there would not be a recovery in the labour market until joblessness started to fall sharply.
ANZ senior economist Sharon Zollner said the data suggested there should be a lift in employment over the next few months.
She said the job ads provide a lead on the unemployment rate and it appeared an upward trend was emerging, but job ads were sluggish compared to what they were before the recession.
She said the July figures were a sign that business intention to hire people was finally flowing through.
But Ms Zollner said it was questionable whether the current economic upturn was sustainable given that it was centred on construction.
"At a time when our national balance sheet is already pretty strained theoretically we should be growing our exports and reducing our debt, a housing boom in Auckland and a rebuild in Christchurch is the wrong sort of growth in that regard."
Ms Zollner said it was still positive, but the real question was whether New Zealand would have the sort of revenue growth to sustain the upturn.