Employment growth in the United States outpaced that of Japan and Europe between 1980 and 1996. The number of jobs in sectors requiring higher levels of education grew at roughly comparable rates in these economies. Thus, differences in job creation rates have often been driven by differences in sectors requiring lower levels of educational attainment.
In 1996, employment in the United States was more than 27 percent greater than in 1980. In Japan, employment grew about 15 percent over the period, while in the major economies of Europe, (France, West Germany, Italy, and the United Kingdom) there had been little net increase—about 3 percent. (See table.) Employment growth among these nations varied over time, however, and there were important compositional differences in terms of sectors.