NSW still has Australia’s best performing economy, according to CommSec’s latest State of the States quarterly report, but the ACT is the big improver while Western Australia remains last.
NSW has a strong grip on the top spot, with its economy at or near the top of eight key economic indicators. NSW leads on business investment, retail trade and dwelling starts.
The ACT has knocked Victoria out of second place as it improved its position on five of the eight economic indicators. The ACT leads on housing finance, is second on two other indicators and third on another three.
Victoria has dropped to third spot but CommSec says there is little to separate it from the ACT. Victoria leads the pack on population growth, with the number of people rising 2.13 per cent compared to a year ago.
Tasmania stays in fourth spot, but little separates it from Queensland, Northern Territory and South Australia. The island state is now ranked second in unemployment, with its jobless rate of 5.8 per cent below the decade-average of 6.1 per cent.
Queensland is benefiting from annual growth in exports of 43 per cent, but the state was second weakest in unemployment and construction work. However, post-flood rebuilding and repairs can be expected.
6. NORTHERN TERRITORY
The Northern Territory has the strongest jobs market and boasts the lowest trend unemployment rate, at 3.5 per cent. It also led took in economic growth and construction work, which was boosted by gas projects, but had the weakest population growth, retail spending, home lending, dwelling starts and business investment.
7. SOUTH AUSTRALIA
CommSec says the South Australian economy could lift over the coming year as employment grows at close to its fastest annual rate in nearly six years, lifting retail spending.
8. WESTERN AUSTRALIA
In Western Australia, unemployment has eased over the past three months but the state is still struggling after the end of the mining construction boom. Tourism and agriculture may drive growth.