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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 fifth quarter in a row, Tasmania holds the mantle of the best performing economy. And the ACT remains in second spot. However there is little to separate five of the other seven economies with the Northern Territory still in eighth spot. In third spot behind the ACT is Western Australia, which has lifted from joint sixth position. Victoria now eases from equal third to fourth position. South Australia is in outright fifth spot from Queensland, then follows NSW and the Northern Territory.

Tasmania has now been on top for five straight surveys – either shared with another economy or in its own right. The second ranking for the ACT maintains its highest ranking for four years (April 2017). The third position for Western Australia is its highest ranking in six years (April 2015). Prior to April 2015, Western Australia held top spot or second spot for over five 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 three of the eight economic indicators.


2. ACT

Strength: Relative Unemployment

Weakness: Relative Population Growth 


Insights into ACT

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


3. Western Australia

Strength: Relative Unemployment 

Weakness: Construction Work


Insights into WA

Western Australia is now in third position on the performance rankings. WA ranks second on three indicators.


4. Victoria

Strength: Housing Finance 

Weakness: Relative Population Growth 


Insights into VIC

Victoria is now in fourth position on the overall economic performance rankings. Victoria still ranks first on two of the eight indicators.


5. South Australia

Strength: Relative Population Growth

Weakness: Relative Economic Growth


Insights into SA

South Australia is now in fifth position in the performance rankings.


6. Queensland

Strength: Housing Finance

Weakness: Equipment Investment

Insights into QLD

Queensland is now in sixth position on the performance rankings. Queensland is ranked second on housing finance.


7. New South Wales

Strength: Construction Work

Weakness: Dwelling Starts


Insights into NSW

NSW is in seventh position on the overall economic performance rankings. 


8. Northern Territory 

Strength: Equipment Investment

Weakness: Relative Population Growth


Insights into NT

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

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