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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

Last quarter NSW shared the top spot of Australia’s economic performance rankings alongside the Northern Territory. However this time around NSW has edged ahead to take sole ownership of the top ranking. In second place is the Northern Territory. The next grouping is Western Australia and Victoria.  

Queensland holds on to fifth spot. The ACT and SA are closely grouped in sixth and seventh respectively. Tasmania is ranked eighth. Over the past quarter, NSW has improved its position on housing finance and dwelling starts to consolidate its position at the top of the economic performance rankings.

State breakdown

1. New South Wales

Strength: Retail Spending

Weakness: Construction 


Insights into NSW

NSW has retained its top ranking on population growth and retail trade and is also now number one on dwelling starts. It is second placed on business investment, and housing finance. NSW is fourth on overall construction work, unemployment and fifth on economic growth.


2. Northern Territory

Strength: Unemployment

Weakness: Housing finance


Insights into NT

The Northern Territory has drifted to second place, giving up the mantle of best-performing economy. The NT is top on four indicators including the job market, and third on retail trade. But NT is seventh on population growth and eighth on housing finance. Huge gas projects are driving the NT economy.


3. Western Australia

Strength: Retail trade

Weakness: Unemployment


Insights into WA

Western Australia is second-strongest on three indicators – economic growth, retail trade and construction work. The state has slipped to fifth on equipment investment and has fallen to fourth on housing finance.


4. Victoria

Strength: Home lending

Weakness: Equipment spending


Insights into Victoria 

Victoria is still the fourth-ranked economy but is closing fast on Western Australia. Victoria is best on housing finance and second ranked on population growth. But Victoria is sixth ranked on both economic growth and equipment investment.


5. Queensland

Strength: Business investment

Weakness: Unemployment


Insights into QLD

Queensland has drifted away from Victoria in the performance rankings, retaining fifth position. Queensland does best on overall construction work done. But it is seventh ranked on unemployment and sixth ranked on population growth.


6. ACT

Strength: Housing finance

Weakness: Unemployment


Insights into ACT

The ACT economy is the sixth ranked on economic performance. The territory ranks third on housing finance and economic growth but seventh ranked on equipment investment, dwelling starts, and construction work. 


7. South Australia

Strength: Population growth

Weakness: Dwelling starts


Insights into South Australia

South Australia holds seventh spot on the economic performance rankings. South Australia has improved its position on retail trade, equipment investment, and construction work. But it is eighth ranked on dwelling starts.


8. Tasmania 

Strength: Unemployment

Weakness: Various


Insights into TAS

Tasmania remains at the bottom of the Australian economic performance table. But it is now ranked second on unemployment. The Tasmanian jobless rate is now holding at 39-month low of 6.5 per cent. In addition dwelling starts are up 50 per cent on a year ago – the fastest growth rate in 12 years.

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