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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 retained the position as the best performing economy, at or near the top of all indicators. Victoria holds second spot on the economic performance rankings with strength provided by high population growth, boosting housing demand. The ACT retains third spot on the performance rankings, supported by a stronger job market.

Tasmania has lifted from fifth to fourth spot, ahead of South Australia with a similar gap to Queensland. Northern Territory remains in seventh position. Western Australia continues to lag other economies and annual growth rates remain below national averages on seven of eight indicators surveyed.

State & Territory breakdown


1. New South Wales

Strength: Dwelling Starts

Weakness: Housing Finance


Insights into NSW

NSW has secured top rankings on five of the eight economic indicators: retail trade, dwelling starts, equipment investment, construction work & unemployment. NSW is second on economic growth & in third spot on population growth & housing finance.


2. Victoria

Strength: Population Growth

Weakness: Unemployment


Insights into Victoria 

Victoria is second on the economic performance rankings in five of the eight indicators: retail trade, housing finance, population growth, construction work done and equipment investment. The lowest ranking is fifth on the unemployment rate.


3. ACT

Strength: Housing Finance

Weakness: Business Investment 


Insights into ACT

The ACT held on to third spot on the rankings. The biggest improvement has been the job market, with annual employment growth now the strongest in almost a decade. The ACT is top-ranked on housing finance.


4. Tasmania 

Strength: Unemployment

Weakness: Economic Growth


Insights into TAS

Tasmania has lifted from fifth to fourth position. Tasmania now is top-ranked on population growth and is third-placed on equipment investment and unemployment. Population growth is the strongest in 6½ years.


5. South Australia

Strength: Business Investment

Weakness: Housing Finance


Insights into South Australia

South Australia has eased from fourth to fifth on the performance rankings. South Australia is ranked fourth on four of the eight indicators.


6. Queensland

Strength: Economic Growth

Weakness: Construction Work


Insights into QLD

Queensland remains in sixth position. But the outlook is promising with annual employment growth the fastest in the nation and just off the fastest for the state in over a decade.


7. Northern Territory

Strength: Economic Growth

Weakness: Population Growth


Insights into NT

The NT retains its seventh position on the economic performance rankings. The Territory is top ranked on economic growth but now lags all other economies on six of the eight indicators. Employment is now lower than a year ago in trend terms. The good news is that exports are growing strongly, up 35% on a year ago.


8. Western Australia

Strength: Retail Trade

Weakness: Economic Growth


Insights into WA

The economic performance of Western Australia continues to reflect the ending of the mining construction boom. But employment growth was just off the strongest levels seen in five years. And annual population growth has lifted for the past four quarters.

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