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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 13th 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

In a relative sense, and for the seventh 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 three.  

There is little to separate the other economies. ACT is second; Western Australia and NSW are equal third; South Australia and Victoria are equal fifth; Queensland is seventh; and the Northern Territory is eighth.    

State & Territory breakdown


1. Tasmania 

Strength: Relative Population Growth  

Weakness: Housing Finance


Insights into TAS

Tasmania is ranked first on four of the eight indicators.  


2. ACT

Strength: Equipment Investment

Weakness: Relative Unemployment


Insights into ACT

The ACT is top ranked on equipment investment and second on retail trade.


3. New South Wales

Strength: Housing Finance

Weakness: Relative Population Growth


Insights into NSW

NSW is ranked first on housing finance and third on dwelling starts.


3. Western Australia

Strength: Relative Economic Growth 

Weakness: Construction Work Done


Insights into WA

Western Australia ranks first on relative economic growth and is second-ranked on relative unemployment.


5. Victoria

Strength: Housing Finance 

Weakness: Relative Population Growth 


Insights into VIC

Victoria ranks second on housing finance and third on construction work done


5. South Australia

Strength: Dwelling Starts

Weakness: Retail Trade


Insights into SA

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


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: Relative Economic Growth


Insights into NT

The Northern Territory is top ranked on relative population growth and has the fastest annual growth for two of the indicators

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