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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 remains on top of the economic performance rankings however Victoria has closed the gap helped by high population growth and improvement in the job market. The ACT retains third spot ahead of Tasmania which is benefitting from faster population growth.

South Australia is in fifth spot ahead of Queensland, where job growth is the fastest in the nation. The Northern Territory remains in seventh position, just ahead of Western Australia. Stronger export activity in both WA and NT economies is boosting incomes.

State & Territory breakdown


1. New South Wales

Strength: Job Market 

Weakness: Housing Finance


Insights into NSW

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


2. Victoria

Strength: Retail Spending 

Weakness: Construction Work Done 


Insights into Victoria 

Victoria is second on the economic performance rankings for five of the eight indicators and in third spot on the other three indicators. The biggest improvement has been the job market with unemployment now almost 3% below the decade average.


3. ACT

Strength: Housing Finance

Weakness: Equipment Spending  


Insights into ACT

The ACT has held on to third spot on the rankings. The ACT is top-ranked on housing finance, in second spot on the job market and in third position on dwelling starts and retail trade.


4. Tasmania 

Strength: Population Growth 

Weakness: Economic Growth


Insights into TAS

Tasmania has held fourth position on the economic performance rankings and it can be broadly grouped with the ACT. Tasmania is top-ranked on relative population growth and is second placed on equipment investment. Population growth is the strongest in 7 years.


5. South Australia

Strength: Construction Work Done

Weakness: Housing Finance


Insights into South Australia

South Australia remains in fifth position on the performance rankings and it can be broadly grouped with Queensland. South Australia is ranked fourth on dwelling starts and fifth on three other indictors. Construction work done is at record highs.


6. Queensland

Strength: Economic Growth

Weakness: Construction Work Done


Insights into QLD

Queensland remains in sixth position on the performance rankings. But annual employment growth is the fastest in the nation. Population growth is at 4-year highs. And the annual total of export receipts is up more than 26% over the year.


7. Northern Territory

Strength: Economic Growth

Weakness: Dwelling Starts


Insights into NT

The Northern Territory retains its seventh position on the economic performance rankings and can be broadly grouped with Western Australia. The NT is top ranked on economic growth and second-ranked on construction work done. But it lags all other states and territories on five of the indicators. The good news is that exports are growing strongly, up 22% on a year ago.


8. Western Australia

Strength: Equipment Spending 

Weakness: Job Market


Insights into WA

Western Australia is seventh on five indicators and lags other economies on the other three indicators. But equipment spending and exports are posting firm annual growth.

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