The Council of Trade Unions say the economy remains fragile, despite figures showing a second consecutive quarter of economic growth.
Latest Gross Domestic Product figures record an expansion of 0.2% in the three months to the end of September.
Finance Minister Bill English says while growth is still weak, that's positive news.
He says Treasury now expects unemployment to peak sooner and at a lower level than previously thought, with 64,000 fewer jobs dropping out of the economy.
But the CTU says unemployment will remain high for the next few years.
Economist Bill Rosenberg says the forecast is still for unemployment to peak at 7%, which translates to about 160,000 people out of work in March next year.