The labour market is expected to grow modestly this year as the economic recovery gains momentum.
The BNZ-Business New Zealand Performance of Services Index rose almost 3 points to 53.6 in January 2012.
A reading above 50 indicates the sector is expanding, and the result is the third highest ever recorded for a January.
New orders, business, employment, activity, sales and supplier deliveries expanded, while stocks and inventories dropped.
The employment indicator has been growing steadily since September and it is now at its highest level since 2007 at 54.2.
BNZ head of research Stephen Toplis says the services sector seems to be gearing up for stronger growth.
Stephen Toplis says employment in the construction sector is showing particular signs of promise.