Why do some countries create more jobs than others? To consider this question, in this paper we focus on one of the most basic relationships, between growth and employment. In practice, the private sector responds very differently to growth (and decline) across countries. Understanding the patterns and drivers of private sector decisions to expand and shed jobs may be important to guide policy approaches for job creation. This paper analyzes the output-employment relationship in the context of business cycles at three levels: the macro-economy; industry (in manufacturing); and firms. The results highlight major differences in private sector job creation responsiveness to growth across stages of development and economic structures, but a critical finding is that economies (and firms) where formal sector job creation was more responsive to growth cycles generated more jobs overall. In addition, results from both the macro analysis and the sectoral analysis suggests significant complementarity between capital and labor. Finally, the findings may help to frame a broad policy agenda for job creation, including: macro-economic fundamentals, responsive labor markets, access to finance, competition, and a facilitative business regulatory environment. These are not surprising, but nevertheless frame a set of issues that could be explored in further research.