The unemployment figures in all western industrialized countries have shown a marked upward trend in the last ten years. However, there have been wide differences in the performance of individual countries and economic areas with respect to employment. The number of persons employed in the European Community contracted slightly overall, for example, but, the Federal Republic of Germany experienced an appreciable reduction. By contrast, in Japan employment increased by an average of .9 percent per year, and in the United States it expanded by as much as 1.7 percent per year.This study seeks to establish why the net supply of jobs has continued to increase in some countries while in others, job losses have outweighed the creation of new jobs, despite the fact that all of the countries were exposed to similar pressures from exogenous shocks such as the oil price crises and the changeover to floating exchange rates. The examination includes the United States, Japan, and the European Community's economically most important member states; France, the Federal Republic of Germany, Italy, and the United Kingdom.A variety of variables are examined in an effort to explain the differences in employment trends in individual countries including: differences in the pace and structure of growth; differences in real wage trends and in wage structure; differences in labor market flexibility and adaptability; and differences in fundamental concepts of economic policy, and socio-economic framework. The conclusions have major importance for those concerned with comparative national economic policy.