Western Australia has been named the nation’s worst performing economy for the third consecutive quarter in CommSec’s latest State of the States report.
Economic growth in WA is currently the weakest in the nation.
The state’s economy lagged other economies and annual growth rates remained below the national averages on all indicators used by CommSec.
Unemployment of 6.4 per cent compared to an average of 5.0 per cent in the past 20 years.
Other areas in which WA is underperforming the national average and its own average over the past decade include retail spending, business investment, construction work, population growth, housing finance, dwelling starts, wages and inflation and home prices.
The economic performance of Western Australia continued to reflect the ending of the mining construction boom, but unemployment had eased over the past three months, CommSec chief economist Craig James said.
“The latest data indicates a multi-speed national economy,” he said.
“NSW is solidly on top with little to separate the ACT and Victoria. Then there is a gap to Tasmania, Queensland, Northern Territory and South Australia then another gap to Western Australia.
“Western Australia is benefiting from higher mining and metal prices and record export volumes. Tourism and agriculture both provide scope to drive growth”
WA’s acting treasurer Rita Saffioti said the Labor government was tackling the problem and job creation was its number one priority.
“We are looking at all parts of the economy, in particular road construction and of course the Metronet (public transport rail) plan and diversifying the economy through tourism,” she told reporters.
When WA was also named Australia’s worst-performing economy in CommSec’s last report in January, the then Liberal Premier Colin Barnett attacked the credibility of the report saying it was flawed.
The reports compares a state’s current performance against its average over the past decade, but in WA’s case that included the mining boom and Mr Barnett argued the state’s economy was still performing strongly even if it had slowed.