Local groups are doing all they can to create job opportunities in the face of the worst national unemployment rate in 13 years.
But the Western Bay's district mayor says the Psa crisis has hit hard, killing jobs for seasonal workers and local students wanting summer holiday work.
Figures released in Statistics New Zealand's Household Labour Survey show the Bay of Plenty's unemployment rate is 7 per cent, just below the national rate of 7.3 per cent - the worst rate since 1999.
Western Bay of Plenty Mayor Ross Paterson said the Psa crisis in the kiwifruit industry was affecting employment opportunities.
"Tray numbers are down 15 per cent and that has a flow-on effect, both in the orchards and in the pack houses for young people and the unemployed."
It was hard to name a local industry that was thriving, Mr Paterson said.
"I would say economic growth is there, but it's a bit lumpy.
"I don't think there's any one industry that I could say is really moving away and just romping through and offering opportunities for young people or low-skilled work."
Mr Paterson advised out-of-work school leavers to get into a polytechnic and pick up trades and workplace experience.
Economic development organisation Priority One had been working with businesses, schools and polytechs with its "in-step" programme to link jobseekers with work, he said.
Nationally, job vacancies advertised online rose 15 per cent during the last year, according to the latest Jobs Online report from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.
The report found demand for skilled workers was up nationwide but warned that weak employment growth showed the labour market still faced significant challenges.
Advertised skilled vacancies jumped by 5.6 per cent in October and total online job vacancies increased by 4.7 per cent compared with September.
Demand for skilled workers was up in the country's main centres, with the strongest growth in Auckland, followed by Wellington and Canterbury.
Growth in Canterbury was driven by the demand for skilled workers in the construction and engineering industries, and hospitality and tourism, the ministry's labour research general manager Vasantha Krishnan said.
"The Canterbury rebuild continues to drive demand for labour in the region."
In the past year, the number of jobs advertised online has jumped significantly - with skilled vacancies up 14.2 per cent and total job vacancies up 15 per cent.
However, Statistics NZ figures revealed last week that unemployment rose by 19,000 to 170,100 in the year to September, pushing the unemployment rate up from 6.6 per cent to 7.3 per cent - the highest since 1999.
Seek New Zealand general manager Janet Faulding said despite monthly dips, the job market was showing signs of improvement, though hiring activity was easing as the year drew to a close.
"We have seen some strong year-on-year gains.
"Traditionally the job market does tend to slow down at this time of year, but as jobseekers continue to adopt mobile devices for their job search activity, it will be interesting to see if this dip becomes a thing of the past."
Skilled job vacancies up 5.6 per cent month-on-month, 14.2 per cent year-on-year.
All job vacancies up 4.7 per cent month-on-month, 15 per cent year-on-year.
Fastest-growing jobs nationally (in the quarter to October 2012)
2. Construction machinery operators
4. Manufacturing managers
5. Civil engineers
Industries with the biggest monthly increase
Hospitality and tourism - 9.9 per cent
Sales, retail, marketing and advertising - 5.3 per cent
Construction and engineering - 4.5 per cent
Health and medical - 4.4 per cent
Information technology - 4.3 per cent
Source: Department of Labour