New data from job site SEEK shows lockdown had a swift impact on new job listings with a 12 percent drop in August compared to July.
The drop put an end to five months of consecutive record-breaking job numbers across Aotearoa.
SEEK Country manager Rob Clark said the introduction of alert level four restrictions in August had an instant impact on the number of new jobs posted.
"Looking at the weekly job ad volumes, there was a 20 percent drop in job ad numbers compared to the week before August 18 and a further 12 percent in the last week of August, resulting in a 12 percent drop overall from July to August."
But it's not all bad news, Clark said the drop this time is much better than during the first lockdown last year. And despite the decline, job ads are up 11 percent when compared to August 2019.
"When looking back at previous lockdowns, new job opportunities return to the site quickly after restrictions ease," he said.
"If we compare the three weeks since August 18, 2021, to the first three weeks of the pandemic in 2020, the difference is quite encouraging. In 2020 job ads dropped by 73 percent in those first few weeks. Compared to this time around, job ads have dropped by 25 percent, and we are already seeing signs of recovery as restrictions ease."
And it's not just employers who are hesitant to hire during lockdown, applications per job also fell in August.
"Applications per job ad also fell further in August seeing a drop of 6 percent, given the impact restrictions had during the month. I am not surprised to see applications decline too as candidates hold tight before making any career moves."
The initial drop impacted all regions across Aotearoa but Clark said Auckland is likely to be hit the hardest because it is still in alert level 4 compared to level 2 for the rest of the country.
"Every region experienced a month-on-month decline in August. The larger metropolitan areas of Auckland, Wellington and Canterbury had job ad volume decline the most in terms of actual job number, 4 percent, 15 percent and 5 percent respectively. However, all three regions still have more job ads than two years ago. This is true for the majority of regions too."
"Looking ahead, with Auckland's alert level four extending into September, I'd expect further reductions to job ad numbers for the city."
"As the majority of the country enter alert level 2, it will be interesting to see if job ad volumes recover as restrictions ease in September."
The report shows customer-facing jobs were the most impacted with Trades & Services down by 18 percent, Hospitality & Tourism down by 29 percent, Manufacturing, Transport & Logistics down by 13 percent, and Retail & Consumer Services down by 18 percent month-on-month.
Unsurprisingly the industry with the most roles available right now on SEEK is Information and Communication Technology which has over 3000 vacancies.