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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.                                                                                                                                                                                                            NSW has retained top spot as the best performing economy. However Victoria has edged a little closer to topspot. Both states are maintaining a healthy lead over the other states and territories.

National insights
Brought to you by the CommSec Economics Team

NSW has retained top spot as the best performing economy. However, Victoria has edged a little closer to top spot. Both states are maintaining a healthy lead over the other states and territories. The ACT economy has held onto third spot. And while the Northern Territory economy has held onto fourth place, there is now little now separating Queensland (fifth) from the ‘Top End’.

The big change over the past quarter has been another drop in the Western Australian economy, this time to sixth position (previously fifth). And the Tasmanian economy has moved up the ranking into equal seventh with South Australia. There is little to separate the bottom three ranked economies.

State breakdown


1. New South Wales

Strength: Population Growth

Weakness: Construction Work


Insights into NSW

NSW has retained its top rankings on population growth, retail trade, dwelling starts, and unemployment, but has drifted to second spot on housing finance. NSW improved to second ranked on economic growth and is still fourth-ranked on construction work done.


2. Victoria

Strength: Housing Finance

Weakness: Equipment Investment 


Insights into Victoria 

Victoria's main strength is housing finance and is ranked second on a number of indicators, including population growth, retail trade, unemployment, and dwelling starts.


3. ACT

Strength: Equipment Investment

Weakness: Construction Work


Insights into ACT

The ACT remains the third ranked economy. The ACT is second ranked on equipment investment and third ranked on population growth, housing finance, and retail trade.


4. Northern Territory

Strength: Construction Work

Weakness: Population Growth


Insights into NT

The Northern Territory is fourth ranked and remains in top spot for economic growth and construction work done. However, the territory economy is losing momentum and is now last ranked on population growth, equipment investment and housing finance.


5. Queensland

Strength: Dwelling Starts

Weakness: Construction Work


Insights into QLD

Queensland does best on dwelling starts (third ranked). But the state is eighth ranked on construction work done and seventh ranked on economic growth.


6. Western Australia

Strength: Construction Work

Weakness: Unemployment


Insights into WA

Western Australia is second ranked on construction work and fourth ranked on retail trade. But struggles on unemployment (last) and is ranked seventh on equipment investment, population growth, and housing finance.


7. South Australia

Strength: Equipment Investment

Weakness: Retail Trade


Insights into South Australia

South Australia does best on population growth and equipment investment (both fourth ranked) but is seventh or eighth on three indicators.


7. Tasmania 

Strength: Unemployment

Weakness: Economic Growth


Insights into TAS

Tasmania is now equal seventh at the bottom of the Australian economic performance table – with South Australia. Tasmania is seeing a modest lift in momentum, now seventh ranked on retail (previously eighth). The apple isle is also fourth ranked on unemployment.

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