For JPG and TIF, files the adjustments are stored, by design, in the metadata of the file rather than in a "Sidecar" file.
If you really want a sidecar XMP file, try making your jpg a read-only file.
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Read-only didn't work for me, on a single jpg file, although it did lead to some interesting behavior. Set the read-only attribute on a jpg file in Windows XP and then tried the following:
1. Opened in Bridge, then into ACR 5.4. Performed some edits, then tried "Done", received permissions error and would not save edits.
2. Did the same except now invoked "Open", went into CS4 with edits intact and allowed saving out as different file. However, the ACR edits were not saved within the jpg, as expected, nor was a xmp created.
3. Removed the read-only attribute, repeated (2). Even though did not save file in CS4 the "Open" action did embed the edits into the jpg.
So read-only doesn't really allow creation of a xmp file, other than perhaps temporarily for transfer to Photoshop. It does lead to somewhat inconsistent behavior, in that I would have expected the "Open" to fail also since it could not bury the edits in the jpg.
The read-only trick works with DNG files. I'm kind of disappointed that it doesn't with jpgs and tifs.
If you really need an XMP file for a JPG (for whatever reason), you can always use exiftool to extract the XMP block.