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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

There has been little change in the latest rankings. NSW has retained top spot as the best performing economy while Victoria has consolidated second spot, pushing further ahead of the other states and territories. The next grouping of economies is the NT and WA which now share third spot in the performance rankings.

And there is little to separate economies in the third grouping of state and territory economies. Queensland is fifth ranked, ahead of the ACT (sixth) followed by South Australia (seventh) and Tasmania (eighth).

State breakdown

1. New South Wales

Strength: Population Growth

Weakness: Economic Growth


Insights into NSW

NSW has retained its top rankings on population growth, retail trade and dwelling starts but now adds housing finance to the list. NSW is still second placed on unemployment and is also second strongest on equipment investment. The other rankings are: construction work (fourth) and economic growth (fifth).


2. Victoria

Strength: Dwelling Starts

Weakness: Equipment spending


Insights into Victoria 

Victoria has consolidated second spot on the economic performance rankings. Victoria’s main strengths are population growth, housing finance and dwelling starts (second ranked on each indicator).


3. Northern Territory

Strength: Equipment Spending

Weakness: Population Growth


Insights into NT

Northern Territory is top ranked on economic growth, business investment and construction work done. But the ‘top end’ economy is last ranked on population growth, housing finance and dwelling starts.


3. Western Australia

Strength: Economic Growth

Weakness: Unemployment


Insights into WA

Western Australia has is second on retail trade, economic growth and construction work, but higher unemployment (eighth ranked) has impacted housing activity.


5. Queensland

Strength: Retail Spending

Weakness: Construction Work


Insights into QLD

Queensland retains fifth position on the economic performance table but it is clear that it is now in a third grouping of economies with the ACT, South Australia and Tasmania.


6. ACT

Strength: Housing Finance

Weakness: Unemployment


Insights into ACT

The ACT economy has retained sixth position on economic performance. The territory ranks third on economic growth and housing finance but is seventh ranked on three indicators. 


7. South Australia

Strength: Population Growth

Weakness: Dwelling Starts


Insights into South Australia

South Australia has held seventh spot on the economic performance rankings but Tasmania is showing better momentum. South Australia does best on population growth and equipment investment (both third ranked) but is seventh ranked on three indicators.


8. Tasmania 

Strength: Unemployment

Weakness: Retail Spending


Insights into TAS

Tasmania remains at the bottom of the Australian economic performance table. But importantly Tasmania is now top ranked on unemployment and third ranked for dwelling commencements.

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