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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

In the latest results, NSW has consolidated its spot at the top of the economic rankings and there is now a wider gap to the next grouping of states and territories. Interestingly, Victoria has now taken second spot, leaping both NT and WA. 

Queensland barely holds on to fifth spot from the ACT (sixth). They effectively constitute a third tier of economies. The fourth tier of economies is made up of South Australia (seventh) and Tasmania (eighth).

State breakdown

1. New South Wales

Strength: Retail Spending

Weakness: Economic Growth


Insights into NSW

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


2. Victoria

Strength: Home lending

Weakness: Equipment spending


Insights into Victoria 

Victoria has now lifted into second spot on the economic performance rankings. Victoria’s main strengths are population growth and housing demand but lags on equipment investment (fifth).


3. Northern Territory

Strength: Unemployment

Weakness: Housing finance


Insights into NT

The Northern Territory is now the third ranked economy, drifting down from equal first to second and now to third in recent surveys. While the Northern Territory is ranked first on four indicators including economic growth and the job market, it is eighth on population growth and housing.


4. Western Australia

Strength: Retail trade

Weakness: Unemployment


Insights into WA

Western Australia has now drifted to fourth spot on the performance rankings. Western Australia is second ranked on economic growth but slower population growth and higher unemployment are affecting economic performance.


5. Queensland

Strength: Retail Spending

Weakness: Unemployment


Insights into QLD

Queensland does best on retail spending and equipment investment (fourth). But the state is fifth or sixth on the other indicators.


6. ACT

Strength: Housing finance

Weakness: Equipment spending


Insights into ACT

ACT is strongest on housing finance but seventh on overall construction work dome and eighth on equipment investment. 


7. South Australia

Strength: Population growth

Weakness: Unemployment


Insights into South Australia

South Australia retains seventh spot on the economic performance rankings but is close to Tasmania on the leader-board. South Australia does best on population growth and equipment investment (both third ranked) but is eighth on construction work done.


8. Tasmania 

Strength: Unemployment

Weakness: Retail trade


Insights into TAS

Tasmania remains at the bottom of the Australian economic performance table. While the state is ranked third on unemployment it is either seventh or eighth on five of the criteria assessed.

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