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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.

The latest 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.                                                                       

National insights
Brought to you by the CommSec Economics Team

NSW has solidly held the position as the best performing economy, at or near the top on all indicators. The ACT has moved into second spot, improving its relative position on five of the eight indicators. Victoria has eased to third spot on the economic performance rankings but there is little to separate the state from the ACT.

Tasmania remains in fourth spot just ahead of Queensland, Northern Territory and South Australia. The rankings haven’t changed in the last quarter. Western Australia continues to lag other economies and annual growth rates remain below national averages on all indicators.

State & Territory breakdown


1. New South Wales

Strength: Dwelling starts

Weakness: Housing Finance


Insights into NSW

NSW has retained its top rankings on business investment, retail trade and dwelling starts. NSW is in second spot on unemployment, construction work and economic growth. NSW is in third spot on housing finance and unemployment.


2. ACT

Strength: Housing Finance

Weakness: Construction Work


Insights into ACT

The ACT has lifted to second spot and is now top-ranked on housing finance. The Territory is second on two indicators and third on another three.


3. Victoria

Strength: Population Growth

Weakness: Unemployment


Insights into Victoria 

Victoria is in third spot, easing in its relative position on business investment and housing finance. Victoria leads on population growth.


4. Tasmania 

Strength: Population Growth

Weakness: Economic Growth


Insights into TAS

Tasmania holds its position in fourth spot but there is little to separate it from Queensland, Northern Territory and South Australia. Tasmania is now in second spot for unemployment.


5. Queensland

Strength: Retail Trade

Weakness: Unemployment


Insights into QLD

Queensland remains in fifth position on the economic performance rankings. Queensland is benefitting from strong export growth which will boost overall growth of Gross State Product (economic growth). Exports are growing at a 43 per cent annual rate.


6. Northern Territory

Strength: Unemployment

Weakness: Population Growth


Insights into NT

The Northern Territory remains in sixth position on the economic performance rankings. The Territory is still ranked first on construction work done and unemployment and now also top-ranked on economic growth. But on forward-looking indicators like population growth, housing finance and home starts the Territory lags other economies.


7. South Australia

Strength: Business Investment

Weakness: Unemployment


Insights into South Australia

The South Australian economy is in seventh position. South Australia is middle-ranked on business investment and fifth-ranked on dwelling starts.


8. Western Australia

Strength: Retail Trade

Weakness: Unemployment


Insights into WA

The economic performance of Western Australia continues to reflect the ending of the mining construction boom. But unemployment has eased over the last three months.

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