Enterprise Ireland CEO Frank Ryan

The cost of maintaining each job supported by Enterprise Ireland has soared from €4,555 in 2006 at the height of the boom to just short of €12,000 last year – a 165% increase in four years.

The huge increase in costs per job reflects the considerable number of state-supported jobs that are being lost in the current recession.

Enterprise Ireland supports Irish industry while its sister agency, IDA Ireland, supports jobs in foreign multinationals who set up in Ireland.

The IDA's cost per foreign job maintained is higher at €13,755 but the cost has remained fairly steady over the last four years and has in fact dropped from a high of nearly €19,000 in 2002.

While Enterprise Ireland managed to create 7,443 jobs last year, it lost 26,521, giving a net loss of just over 19,000 jobs.

Foreign multinationals did not perform well, with the IDA reporting 4,615 new jobs created but the loss of over 18,000, leaving a net loss of 13,400 jobs. The hardest-hit region was the mid-west, which lost over 3,000 multinational jobs last year – a 27% decline.

A spokesman for Enterprise Ireland said the agency calculated the cost per job by including all the money expended by the agency on all firms and then only included jobs that were maintained over a seven-year period.

Therefore when jobs are lost before seven years, as happened extensively last year, then the cost per job goes up.