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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

For the second quarter in a row, Tasmania holds the mantle of the best performing economy in its own right. But there have been notable changes in the other rankings. Victoria has dropped from second to third spot, behind the ACT. NSW shares equal fourth spot with South Australia. Then in joint sixth position are Queensland and Western Australia from the Northern Territory.

Tasmania has now been on top for three straight surveys. The second ranking for the ACT is its highest ranking in just over three years. And the third ranking for Victoria is its lowest position in just over three years. South Australia is in joint fourth position – its highest ranking in three years. South Australia is in joint fourth position – its highest ranking in three years. And the joint sixth position for Western Australia is its highest ranking since April 2016.

State & Territory breakdown


1. Tasmania 

Strength: Relative Population Growth  

Weakness: Relative Unemployment


Insights into TAS

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


2. ACT

Strength: Relative Unemployment

Weakness: Relative Population Growth 


Insights into ACT

The ACT is in second spot in the rankings. The ACT is top-ranked on relative unemployment.


3. Victoria

Strength: Relative Economic Growth 

Weakness: Equipment Investment 


Insights into VIC

Victoria is now third on the overall economic performance rankings. Victoria still ranks first on two of the eight indicators.


4. New South Wales

Strength: Construction Work

Weakness: Relative Unemployment


Insights into NSW

NSW is in joint fourth position on the overall economic performance rankings. NSW is ranked second on construction work.


4. South Australia

Strength: Relative Population Growth

Weakness: Relative Economic Growth


Insights into SA

South Australia is now in joint fourth position on the performance rankings. South Australia is second-ranked on relative population growth.


6. Queensland

Strength: Retail trade

Weakness: Relative Economic Growth

Insights into QLD

Queensland is now in joint sixth position on the performance rankings. Queensland is ranked second on retail trade.


6. Western Australia

Strength: Relative economic growth 

Weakness: Construction work


Insights into WA

Western Australia is now in joint sixth spot. WA ranks second on relative economic growth and third on equipment investment.


8. Northern Territory 

Strength: Relative Unemployment

Weakness: Relative Population Growth


Insights into NT

The Northern Territory is second ranked on relative unemployment but lags all other states and territories on six of the eight indicators.

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