The unused labour potential includes people who do not work at all or work less than twelve hours a week or less, but have indicated that they prefer to work twelve hours a week or more. Within the unused labour potential, three groups can be distinguished:
- Unemployed. These people are actively looking for jobs of at least twelve hours a week and are readily available for the labour market. On account of their active approach, they are included in the gross labour participation.
- People actively seeking work who cannot accept a job straightaway, for instance, because they are about to finish some form of education.
- Lastly, there is a group of people who would like to have a job of at least twelve hours a week, but are not actively looking for work. Their motives may vary.