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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 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 and NSW share the title of the best performing economy. The ACT is now in joint third position with Tasmania. Then there is a gap to South Australia and Queensland. And in the fourth grouping is Western Australia and the Northern Territory. NSW and Victoria each benefit from solid population growth and strong job markets, driving retail spending and business investment.

The ACT is in now equal third spot on the performance rankings with strength in the building and purchase of homes. Tasmania has joined the ACT in third spot with higher population growth driving new home purchase and business investment. South Australia remains in fifth spot from Queensland and is ahead of the latter on five of the eight indicators. Western Australia remains in seventh position just ahead of NT.


State & Territory breakdown


1. Victoria

Strength: Job Market 

Weakness: Equipment Investment  


Insights into VIC

Victoria remains jointly on top of the economic performance rankings with NSW. Victoria ranks first on four of the eight indicators.


1. New South Wales

Strength: Retail Trade 

Weakness: Housing Finance


Insights into NSW

NSW shares top position on the overall economic performance rankings with Victoria. NSW is second-ranked on all but one of the eight indicators.


3. ACT

Strength: Housing Finance

Weakness: Equipment Investment 


Insights into ACT

The ACT is in joint third spot in the rankings. The ACT is top-ranked on housing finance and dwelling starts.


3. Tasmania 

Strength: Population Growth 

Weakness: Job Market


Insights into TAS

Tasmania is in joint third position on the economic performance rankings. Tasmania is ranked first on relative population growth and business spending.


5. South Australia

Strength: Equipment Spending

Weakness: Population Growth


Insights into SA

South Australia retains fifth position on the performance rankings ahead of Queensland. South Australia is third-ranked on business spending.


6. Queensland

Strength: Dwelling Starts

Weakness: Job Market

Insights into QLD

Queensland retains sixth position on the performance rankings. The key area of strength is relative economic growth (third-ranked).


7. Western Australia

Strength: Equipment Spending 

Weakness: Job Market 


Insights into WA

Western Australia is seventh or eighth on all of the indicators. But exports are growing strongly.


8. Northern Territory 

Strength: Job Market

Weakness: Population Growth


Insights into NT

The Northern Territory is seventh-ranked on economic growth and the job market. But it lags all other states and territories on six of the indicators.

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