The paper presents the results of building a model for diagnosing and forecasting the economic activities in the city of Ufa. This study was performed as the analytical support for creating an economic development strategy in a metropolitan city. The novelty of the approach is in the detailed analysis of the city-level indicators of the development of economic activity. This allows to identify the problems in the development of the social and economic spheres. A vector autoregression model which takes into account the correlations between the main macroeconomic indicators was chosen as a tool for diagnosing the economy. . A preliminary statistical data analysis was done and cause-effect relations were determined in the article. Vector autoregression models were made for the following branches of the city economy: industrial production, construction, wholesale and retail trade, transport and communication. The represented types of economic activities hold the main economic potential of the metropolitan city. The modeling period covers the period from the 1st quarter of 2009 till the 3rd quarter of 2014. As a result of this study we managed to determine the competitive advantages and specific problems of the economic system in the metropolitan city, analyze the basic factors and actions for overcoming adverse trends in the future. The obtained information could be useful for public authorities to solve problems connected with enhancing the welfare of the population, improving the living standards of citizens, developing the infrastructure, contributing to the effective prosperity of the social and economic spheres of the city, developing a competitive economy, expanding the external economic relations.