Belfast has slipped down a table of the best UK cities in which to live and work for the third time, according to the latest Demos-PwC Good Growth for Cities 2018 index.
For a third year running, Belfast has dropped down the ranking of 42 cities and is now in 32nd place compared to 30th last year, 25th position in 2016 and 5th in the 2015 index.
Londonderry, meanwhile remains in 11th place on the table, holding its position from last year with significant improvement in job creation.
The Index shows that while Belfast has also performed at an above average rate for job creation, work-life balance, transport infrastructure and income distribution, other cities have recovered faster from the financial downturn and performed better.
High levels of economic inactivity and long-term sickness combined with the lack of new business formation, relative to competitor cities, have contributed to the decline.
“The announcement that the Belfast City Region Deal is to go ahead could not have come at a better time,” said PwC NI regional chair Paul Terrington.
“Employment levels are about where they were before the financial crisis, but low productivity, new business formation relative to other cities and long-term economic inactivity are all constraining growth and prosperity - and the continued lack of a functioning Executive is not helping to instil confidence or investment.
“Belfast rightly has a reputation as an innovative city and it’s critical this message is shared worldwide.
“However, we also need to show that we have the political maturity to get the Assembly up and running, and get to grips with the serious challenges facing Belfast and the region.”