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How are Australia’s states and territories performing?

Each quarter CommSec attempts to find out by analysing eight key indicators: economic growth; retail spending; equipment investment; unemployment; construction work done; population growth; housing finance and dwelling commencements.

Just as the Reserve Bank uses long-term averages to determine the level of “normal” interest rates; we have done the same with the economic indicators. For each state and territory, latest readings for the key indicators were compared with decade averages – that is, against the “normal” performance.


National insights
Brought to you by the CommSec Economics Team

NSW has retained top spot as the best performing economy, edging a little further ahead of Victoria. Both states are maintaining a healthy lead over the other states and territories. The big change over the past quarter has been the lift of the ACT economy to equal third position alongside the Northern Territory.

Western Australia has dropped from fourth to fifth. But there is little to separate the ACT, Northern Territory in the second grouping of economies. In the third grouping of state and territory economies. Queensland is sixth ranked, ahead of the South Australia (seventh) and Tasmania (eighth).

State breakdown

1. New South Wales

Strength: Population Growth

Weakness: Economic Growth


Insights into NSW

NSW has top ranking on six indicators: retail trade, population growth, housing finance, dwelling starts, business investment and unemployment. The lowest ranking is fifth on overall economic growth.


2. Victoria

Strength: Population Growth

Weakness: Equipment Spending


Insights into Victoria 

Victoria is second ranked on housing finance and population growth. But it is fifth ranked on equipment investment.


3. Northern Territory

Strength: Construction Work

Weakness: Population Growth


Insights into NT

Northern Territory is on top for construction work done, and is second ranked on equipment investment, unemployment and economic growth.


3. ACT

Strength: Dwelling Starts

Weakness: Construction Work


Insights into ACT

ACT is best on dwelling starts (second ranked) and third ranked on economic growth, population growth and housing finance.


5. Western Australia

Strength: Economic Growth

Weakness: Unemployment


Insights into WA

Western Australia is top ranked on economic growth and second on retail trade and construction work done.


6. Queensland

Strength: Dwelling Starts

Weakness: Construction Work


Insights into QLD

Queensland does best on retail spending and dwelling starts (both fourth ranked). But the state is eighth ranked on construction work done.


7. South Australia

Strength: Equipment Investment

Weakness: Dwelling Starts


Insights into South Australia

South Australia is highest ranked (third) on equipment investment. But South Australia is seventh on economic growth and retail trade and eighth on dwelling starts.


8. Tasmania 

Strength: Unemployment

Weakness: Economic Growth


Insights into TAS

While Tasmania is ranked third on unemployment it is seventh or eighth ranked on four other criteria. While unemployment has lifted in the past two months, real wage growth remains healthy.

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