The survey was carried out in early December with a sample size of almost 1600.
Results in the survey which are above 100 indicates that optimists outweigh pessimists.
Employment expectations fell by 7.9 points, and although this left the category’s overall score at 109.4, the decline broke a six year high.
“Following a string of bad news in the global economy, as well as falls in the prices for some commodity exports, many New Zealanders have become nervous about the outlook for the coming year,” said a Westpac economist in a statement. “This nervousness has seen households becoming more pessimistic about the availability of jobs over the coming year, and has prompted them to wind back their expectations for wage increases.”
The survey also revealed that workers’ expectations for earnings growth declined by 8.6 points to 29.2, while job security fell from 17.9 to a meagre 8.5.
Regions more closely associated with the rural economy saw a sharper decline in residents’ confidence, although the decrease was seen in results from across the country.
However, participants living and working in more urbanised areas were found to be generally more optimistic.
According to the Westpac McDermott Miller employment confidence survey, New Zealanders’ pessimism about their job and earnings prospects worsened in the December quarter.