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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 12th 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

It is important to note at the outset that all states and territories are performing solidly. That is no small matter in an environment dominated by the Covid-19 virus with the frequent – but necessary – lockdowns and border closures. In a relative sense, and for the sixth quarter in a row, Tasmania holds the mantle of the best performing economy. 

Tasmania leads on four of the eight indicators and is second ranked on another two. There is little to separate the other economies. Victoria is second; ACT, third; South Australia, fourth; NSW, fifth; Western Australia, sixth; Queensland, seventh; and the Northern Territory is eighth.    

State & Territory breakdown


1. Tasmania 

Strength: Relative Population Growth  

Weakness: Housing Finance


Insights into TAS

Tasmania remains in top spot on the economic performance rankings. Tasmania leads on four of the eight economic indicators.


2. Victoria

Strength: Construction Work Done 

Weakness: Relative Population Growth 


Insights into VIC

Victoria ranks first on two of the eight indicators – housing finance and construction work done.


3. ACT

Strength: Retail Trade

Weakness: Relative Unemployment


Insights into ACT

The ACT is top-ranked on retail trade and is in second spot on relative economic growth and dwelling starts.


4. South Australia

Strength: Dwelling Starts

Weakness: Retail Trade


Insights into SA

South Australia ranks third on both dwelling starts and construction work done.


5. New South Wales

Strength: Housing Finance

Weakness: Relative Population Growth


Insights into NSW

NSW is in second position on both housing finance and equipment investment. 


6. Western Australia

Strength: Relative Economic Growth 

Weakness: Construction Work


Insights into WA

Western Australia ranks first on relative economic growth and is third-ranked on equipment investment.


7. Queensland

Strength: Relative Population Growth

Weakness: Equipment Investment

Insights into QLD

Queensland is ranked third on relative population growth, relative unemployment and retail trade.


8. Northern Territory 

Strength: Relative Population Growth

Weakness: Equipment Investment


Insights into NT

The Northern Territory is second ranked on relative population growth and has the fastest annual growth for three of the indicators.

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