Job listings were almost back at their pre-Covid levels by the end of last year, Seek NZ says.
The employment marketplace's website listings increased by nearly a fifth (19 percent) from the third to the fourth quarters but they were down by 7 percent on the same period in 2019.
Sectors with the highest job ad growth were: information and communication technology; manufacturing; transport and logistics and trades and services.
Seek NZ general manager Janet Faulding told Morning Report that manufacturing and transport and logistics were "the real heroes" for industries across New Zealand.
Along with the healthcare sector, they were helping to drive growth in regional areas such as Gisborne, Hawke's Bay, Bay of Plenty, Manawatū, Waikato and Tasman.
The trend was different from previous years and exciting for the country.
"To see strong growth right across our regional areas now is really heartening."
She attributed the job growth in part to Aucklanders moving to the regions.
In a media statement Seek said that Auckland, Wellington and Canterbury were impacted the hardest last year by the Covid-19 pandemic but the latest quarter figures show strong improvement.
While year-on-year job ads were down between 3 percent and 15 percent in those three regions, compared with the previous quarter, Auckland rose 24 percent, Wellington increased by 20 percent and Canterbury was up 17 percent.
Some provincial regions even recorded higher listing rates than prior to the pandemic.
Faulding said after the general election there was a noticeable lift in business confidence around the country. More certainty led to continued growth in the lead-up to the holiday period, particularly in retail and hospitality.
However, in the major cities, roles in professional services (e.g. accounting, banking, legal and insurance ) and consumer services (e.g. administration, real estate, call centres) showed a decline of 14 percent and 24 percent respectively.
"When we experience a difficult economic outlook, businesses tend to hold off recruiting these sorts of roles and less international tourism has had a significant impact," Faulding said.
"While job level ad levels traditionally tail off in December ... we anticipate activity to pick back up again after the school holidays as we have seen in previous years."