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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.                                                                       

State of the States

Brought to you by the CommSec Economics Team

Victoria has for the very first time taken out top spot, thanks to strong population growth, which is driving broad construction activity. NSW has slipped to second, due to declines in a number of housing indicators. The ACT retains third spot, ahead of Tasmania which is benefitting from firmer housing activity.

Queensland is now in fifth spot ahead of South Australia but there is little to separate the two economies. Northern Territory remains in seventh position just ahead of Western Australia. There are positive trends for both economies, especially with regard to investment.

State & Territory breakdown


1. Victoria

Strength: Dwelling Starts 

Weakness: Equipment Investment  


Insights into Victoria 

Victoria is now top of the economic performance rankings. It ranks first on economic growth, dwelling starts and construction work done.


2. New South Wales

Strength: Job Market 

Weakness: Housing Finance


Insights into NSW

NSW is second on the overall economic performance rankings but still holds top spot for retail spending and the relative performance on unemployment.


3. ACT

Strength: Housing Finance

Weakness: Dwelling Starts  


Insights into ACT

The ACT has held on to third spot on the rankings. The ACT is top-ranked on relative housing finance and equipment spending and second-ranked on population growth.


4. Tasmania 

Strength: Population Growth 

Weakness: Economic Growth


Insights into TAS

Tasmania has held fourth position and it can be broadly grouped with the ACT. Tasmania is ranked first on the relative position on population growth, a position that is driving strength in home building.


5. Queensland

Strength: Dwelling Starts

Weakness: Construction Work Done


Insights into QLD

Queensland is now in in fifth position on the performance rankings ahead of South Australia but there is little to separate the two economies. Queensland ranks fourth on two indicators and fifth on four indicators.


6. South Australia

Strength: Job Market

Weakness: Equipment Investment


Insights into South Australia

South Australia is now in sixth position. But unemployment is the lowest in 5½ years in trend terms.


7. Northern Territory

Strength: Construction Work Done

Weakness: Housing Finance


Insights into NT

The Northern Territory is third-ranked on construction work done and economic growth. But it lags all other states and territories on four of the indicators. The good news is that employment is growing again in annual terms.


8. Western Australia

Strength: Equipment Spending 

Weakness: Job Market


Insights into WA

Western Australia is seventh on three indicators and lags other economies on three indicators. But equipment spending is now the highest in just over three years.

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