While a positive, that is still the third lowest in Ireland.
The IDA is warning 2021 will be a difficult year to attract foreign investment to Ireland because of the pandemic.
Employment as a result of IDA projects in the midlands increased by 1.8% in 2020, the third lowest rate in the country.
The agency, which attracts foreign companies to locate here, said it created almost 9,000 jobs here last year, when losses were also taken into account.
That compares to over 13,900 in 2019.
CEO Martin Shanahan says foreign direct investment is declining worldwide:
The IDA is targeting 25 new investments in the midlands over the next three years.
The aim is set out in its draft strategy for recovery and sustainable growth, which contains plans for new buildings in Athlone and Mullingar during that time.
It's also secured planning permission from Offaly County Council for an advanced technology centre in Tullamore.
Minister of State, Longford/Westmeath Fine Gael TD Peter Burke says the strategy is a significant one for the region: