GENEVA (AP) -- Youth unemployment is likely to rise globally to 12.8 percent by 2018, wiping out gains made in the recent economic recovery, the U.N.'s labor office said Wednesday.
As of last year, some 12.4 percent of people aged 15 to 24 worldwide were unemployed, up from 12.3 percent in 2011, according to a report published by the International Labor Organization, which is based in Geneva.
In six of 10 developing countries surveyed, more than 60 percent of the young people were either unemployed or trapped in low-paying jobs, the report found.
"The waste of economic potential in developing countries is staggering," said Sara Elder, a co-author of the report, who concluded that for many of them "a job does not necessarily equal a livelihood."
It said that the youth unemployment 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 a job.
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.
Among wealthier nations, including the European Union, the rate was at a 10-year high of 18.1 percent in 2012 -- and is expected to remain above 17 percent at least until 2016.
Six countries -- Austria, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway and Switzerland -- had rates below 10 percent last year.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.