When G20 finance and labor officials meet Friday and Saturday, "getting people back to work must be at the top of the agenda," Lew said in a commentary to be published Friday in the Financial Times but released Thursday by the Treasury Department.
"In many parts of the world, such as Europe, growth is too weak to drive job creation, and it is critical to take steps to bolster private hiring," Lew said. "Elsewhere, as in China, it is critical to speed reforms to shift towards demand-led growth."
That the United States is a source of strength in the world economy only five years after it was the center of a global financial crisis isn't happenstance, Lew wrote.
"While we have more work to do," he said, "this shows that, with good macroeconomic policy, a resilient economy can bounce back and create jobs."
In Europe, the eurozone's first priority is to maintain financial stability, which it is addressing through establishing new financial instruments, implementing difficult reforms and committing to move to a banking union, he said.
"As a result, Europe is now in a position where it can put greater priority on boosting demand and addressing unemployment levels that have reached historic highs," Lew said.
Asia presents different economic challenges, he said.
"Japan can strengthen its growth by reducing barriers to the creation of new businesses and increasing the labor force participation of women and youth," Lew said. "China has enjoyed solid job growth and rising wages over the past few years. But it now faces the challenge of generating jobs that match the aspirations of its increasingly educated workforce."
The United States learned "difficult lessons" from its crisis, he said.
"And now there are lessons to be learned from our recovery," Lew said. "The G20 meeting this weekend provides an important opportunity to put jobs at the center of macroeconomic policy."