Figures from UK Trade & Investment claim the North West welcomed 176 foreign direct inward investment projects in the last financial year, safeguarding 11,436 jobs.
The number of projects is the highest on record for the region and the number of jobs greater than any part of the UK outside the South East.
The North West Development Agency said more than 17% of regional gross value added measure is accounted for by foreign owned companies and output by each worker is nearly 50% higher in foreign owned companies compared to the regional average.
Steven Broomhead, NWDA chief executive, said: "These figures are a real lift from the doom and gloom stories that have filled our media during this difficult global economic downturn. FDI remains a fierce competition and we should be proud of the work of our investment teams across the Northwest and promote this good news as much as we can to encourage a culture of business optimism for the year ahead."
The USA remains the key source of FDI into the North West, followed by Germany, Switzerland and Japan.
The NWDA employs its five sub-regional partners to promote specific areas of the region to overseas investors. These partners are The Mersey Partnership, Midas, Lancashire Economic Partnership, Cheshire & Warrington Economic Alliance and Invest in Cumbria.
Colin Sinclair, chief executive of Midas, Manchester's investment and development agency, said: "These figures prove that the partner organisations charged with securing and protecting investments and jobs for the North West and Manchester city region worked together to perform exceptionally in a very difficult global economic climate.
"We're very proud of the fact that Midas beat its local authority targets by creating and safeguarding 4,735 jobs and attracting more than 80 UK and foreign direct investments in the city region in 08/09.
"None of the agencies involved in shaping the city region as a top 10 European business location are resting on their laurels and we at Midas remain totally focused on exploiting further investment and job opportunities for the city region in the tough times ahead."