Inward investment into the UK jumped by 31% last year, creating almost 39,600 jobs, according to new government figures.
That was up from 25,463 jobs created by 811 investment projects in 2003, the Department of Trade and Industry said.
Trade and industry secretary Alan Johnson said that international comparisons showed the UK was Europe’s top investment destination.
“The predictions of the death of inward investment in the UK have been proved wrong,” he said. “Foreign investment is essential for the long-term health of our economy and the figures show the UK is still viewed globally as one of the best places in the world to do business – thanks to our unrivalled economic performance, emphasis on research and technology and skilled and flexible workforce.”
The North West and South East took the largest share of new jobs, with more than 5,000 each. Even regions with a history of high unemployment saw jobs growth, with the North East adding 3,947 jobs and Wales increasing opportunities by 2,593.
US companies were the largest creators of new jobs, with 17,700, followed by German businesses with 5,200 and Japanese companies with 3,300 jobs.