Enterprise Ireland has said companies supported by the State agency created 10,309 net jobs in 2017. 

More than 19,000 jobs were created across the year, but the net figure takes job losses into account.

209,338 people are now employed in companies supported by the agency, the highest total in EI's history.

The organisation - which is responsible for aiding indigenous companies - said construction, life sciences and engineering had the largest job increases.

The growth in jobs at companies EI supports has been partly helped by the rebound in the construction industry.

The organisation says the figures are a barometer of the robust health of Irish business.

Two thirds (64%) of the jobs created were outside of Dublin. The west, mid-west and northwest saw the largest level of increases, at 7%.

Despite the strong jobs growth, EI warned that many of the firms it supports need to be ready for the effects of Brexit

Such preparation measured include finding markets beyond the UK, preparing for volatility in sterling, and a slowdown in the British economy.

EI helps Irish exporters by providing them with funding and expertise.

Enterprise Ireland Chief Executive Julie Sinnamon said today's figures "represent another year of strong performance by our client companies who now employ over 209,000 people and are a barometer of the robust health of Irish businesses.

"Despite the challenge and uncertainty created by Brexit, Irish companies have continued to grow their global exports, supporting strong job creation across all of the regions of Ireland."

Enterprise Ireland's 2016 annual report put the cost per job supported by the agency during the period at €7,350.

New fund to diversify into different markets

Enterprise Ireland has announced the establishment of a 'Market Discovery Fund' to support Enterprise Ireland-backed companies to diversify into new markets and promote new products to existing markets.

The new fund, another Brexit response, will support companies to appoint in-market accelerators, set up an in-market office, attend and exhibit at trade shows, develop market research and marketing collateral.

There are three levels of funding available to companies: up to €35,000, up to €75,000, and up to €150,000.