Quarterly state of the states economic report

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Stuart Condie
(Australian Associated Press)


Victoria has retained its position as Australia’s top economy for a third straight quarter, although NSW’s consistency across the board means the state rivals are now sharing first place.

CommSec’s quarterly State of the States economic report, released on Tuesday, shows NSW ended Victoria’s six-month sole run at the top of the rankings despite not taking first place in any of the eight indicators.

Victoria ranked first in terms of economic growth, retail trade, unemployment and construction work done, but NSW was consistently strong across the board and was second-ranked on six indicators.

NSW was No.2 for economic growth, retail spending, equipment spending, construction work, dwelling starts and unemployment.

“In NSW, the trend unemployment rate of 4.3 per cent hasn’t been bettered in monthly records going back to 1978,” CommSec chief economist Craig James said.

Victoria overtook NSW in retail spending, but it also fell two places in the relative ranking on dwelling starts.

The ACT’s move from No.6 to No.1 in terms of dwelling starts helped it close the gap on the top two, which face challenges due to their weakening property markets.

Tasmania’s first place for relative population growth and second place for housing finance growth kept it in fourth place, followed by South Australia (No.5) and Queensland (No.6).

The Northern Territory and Western Australia switched places in the only other change to the rankings, the latter slipping to the bottom of the pile due to its worsening jobs market.

In fact, the NT lagged all other states and territories on six of eight indicators.

(* previous quarterly rankings in brackets)


1= (2) NSW

Australia’s two most populous states benefit from solid population growth and strong job markets, which drive retail spending and business investment. Victoria ranked first on economic growth, retail trade, unemployment and construction work done, but NSW was consistently strong and was second-ranked on six of eight indicators.

3 (3) ACT

The ACT remained in the third spot but edged closer to Victoria and NSW thanks to its top ranking on housing finance and dwelling starts, as well as its second place on relative population growth


Tasmania ranked first on relative population growth as well as business investment and was second in terms of housing finance growth.


South Australia was third on business investment and overall construction work done, but there was weakness elsewhere with a sixth placing on three indicators


The Sunshine State’s key area of strength was new dwelling starts, but it was sixth on unemployment and seventh on business investment.


WA was seventh or eighth on all indicators except equipment spending, which has now been growing in annual terms for 18 months. WA placed sixth in that category.


The NT was third-ranked on economic growth but lagged all other states and territories on six of eight indicators.

(* previous quarterly rankings in brackets)


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