The growth in wages and salaries is at its lowest in nearly seven years, according to figures from Statistics New Zealand.
The Labour Cost Index showed wages and salaries increased 2.1% in the year to the end of September, compared with 2.9% annual growth at the end of the June quarter.
Wage and salary growth has not been at this level since the December 2002 quarter.
Salary and wage rates for public servants increased by 2.9% during the period compared to 1.9% for those in private sector jobs.
The number of people in employment fell for the fourth successive quarter, the Quarterly Employment Survey reveals.
The number of people in full time jobs fell by 3.5%, with most of the losses coming from the manufacturing sector.
However, the number of hours worked in firms is rising for the first time in a year, having fallen during the four previous quarters.
Statistics New Zealand says the number of total paid hours rose 0.2% in the September quarter.
This follows a 1.2% fall in the previous three months.