More than 1000 people have applied for 80 jobs at a new K-Mart store in Whangarei.
The retail chain is opening its first Northland store in the Okara Park shopping centre in November.
Work and Income, which is acting as K-Mart's employment agent, said there had been a huge response to ads for staff.
Northland Chamber of Commerce spokesperson Tony Collins said unskilled workers are having a tough time - despite growth in the region's economy.
He said there are few options for young, unqualified people in the north.
Mr Collins said at the same time Northland employers can not find enough skilled people, especially in manufacturing and engineering.
"There's still probably a desperate shortage of vacancies available for unskilled people, particularly the young, one of the difficulties there is them gaining sufficient work experience to make themselves desirable within the workforce."
More than 400 of those who have applied for the K-Mart jobs were registered as unemployed, Work and Income said.