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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.

Now in its 11th year, the State of the States report also includes a section comparing annual growth rates for the eight key indicators across the states and territories as well as Australia as a whole. This enables another point of comparison – in terms of economic momentum.

State of the States

Brought to you by the CommSec Economics Team

Victoria remains the best performing economy. Tasmania has held on to second spot from NSW but there is little separating the states. The ACT is solidly in fourth position. Then there is a gap to Queensland and South Australia. And in the fourth grouping is Western Australia and the Northern Territory.

Victoria benefits from high construction work and a strong job market. Tasmania holds second spot with strength in relative population growth supporting home purchase and starts. NSW remains consistently strong across all indicators and is ranked second on three of the eight indicators. The ACT is in fourth spot, supported by a strong job market and solid demand for homes. Queensland is in fifth spot, ahead of South Australia. There is little to separate the two states. Western Australia remains in seventh position, ahead of Northern Territory.

State & Territory breakdown


1. Victoria

Strength: Construction work 

Weakness: Housing finance  


Insights into VIC

Victoria is on top of the economic performance rankings. Victoria ranks first on four of the eight indicators


2. Tasmania 

Strength: Relative population growth  

Weakness: Relative economic growth 


Insights into TAS

Tasmania is in second position on the economic performance rankings. Tasmania is ranked first on dwelling starts and relative population growth.


3. New South Wales

Strength: Construction work

Weakness: Relative population growth


Insights into NSW

NSW is in third position on the overall economic performance rankings. NSW is second or third-ranked on six of the eight indicators.


4. ACT

Strength: Housing finance

Weakness: Relative economic growth 


Insights into ACT

The ACT is solidly in fourth spot in the rankings. The ACT is top-ranked on housing finance.


5. Queensland

Strength: Relative population growth

Weakness: Equipment investment

Insights into QLD

Queensland is in fifth position on the performance rankings. Queensland is ranked second on relative population growth


6. South Australia

Strength: Relative population growth

Weakness: Relative economic growth


Insights into SA

South Australia is in sixth position on the performance rankings. South Australia is third-ranked on relative population growth.


7. Western Australia

Strength: Relative economic growth 

Weakness: Housing finance


Insights into WA

Western Australia is seventh on the performance rankings and ranks fourth on relative economic growth.


8. Northern Territory 

Strength: Equipment spending

Weakness: Relative Population Growth


Insights into NT

The Northern Territory is seventh-ranked on economic growth but lags all other states and territories on the other seven indicators.

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