GENEVA (AP) — The U.N.'s labor office says youth unemployment is likely to rise globally to 12.8 percent by 2018, wiping out gains made in the recent economic recovery.

A report by the International Labour Organization said Tuesday the rate of unemployment among people aged 15 to 24 was 12.4 percent globally in 2012, up from 12.3 percent in 2011.

It said that rate is expected to climb to 12.6 in 2013 — with an estimated 73.4 million young people out of work — as more of them leave the work force or give up looking for work.

The highest regional rates in 2012 were 28.3 percent in the Middle East and 23.7 percent in North Africa. The lowest rates were South Asia, with 9.3 percent, and East Asia at 9.5 percent.