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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.

Now in its 12th year, 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

For the fourth quarter in a row, Tasmania holds the mantle of the best performing economy. But notably there has been compression in the rankings with little to separate five of the other seven economies. The ACT remains in second spot, ahead of South Australia, in equal third spot with Victoria.   Queensland is in fifth sport. NSW and Western Australia are just behind in joint sixth spot from the Northern Territory.

Tasmania has now been on top for four straight surveys – either shared with another economy or in its own right. The second ranking for the ACT maintains its highest ranking for over three years (April 2017). And the joint third ranking for South Australia is its highest position in just over a decade. The equal sixth ranking for NSW is its lowest position for eight years. 

State & Territory breakdown


1. Tasmania 

Strength: Relative population growth  

Weakness: Housing finance


Insights into TAS

Tasmania remains in top spot on the economic performance rankings. Tasmania leads on four of the eight economic indicators.


2. ACT

Strength: Relative unemployment

Weakness: Relative population growth 


Insights into ACT

The ACT is in second spot in the rankings. The ACT is top-ranked on relative unemployment.


3. Victoria

Strength: Relative economic growth 

Weakness: Equipment investment 


Insights into VIC

Victoria is now equal third on the overall economic performance rankings. Victoria still ranks first on two of the eight indicators.


3. South Australia

Strength: Relative population growth

Weakness: Relative economic growth


Insights into SA

South Australia is now in joint third position on the performance rankings – its highest ranking in just over a decade.


5. Queensland

Strength: Housing finance

Weakness: Relative unemployment

Insights into QLD

Queensland is now in fifth position on the performance rankings. Queensland is ranked first on housing finance.


6. New South Wales

Strength: Housing finance

Weakness: Equipment investment


Insights into NSW

NSW is in joint sixth position on the overall economic performance rankings. NSW is ranked second on housing finance.


6. Western Australia

Strength: Equipment investment 

Weakness: Construction work


Insights into WA

Western Australia remains in joint sixth spot. WA ranks second on equipment investment and third on relative economic growth.


8. Northern Territory 

Strength: Relative economic growth

Weakness: Relative population growth


Insights into NT

The Northern Territory is fifth-ranked on relative economic growth but lags all other states and territories on six of the eight indicators.

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