CommSec has released its latest quarterly report revealing the economic performance of Australian states.
The report analyses eight key indicators: economic growth; retail spending; business investment; unemployment; construction work done; population growth; housing finance and dwelling commencements.
According to CommSec chief economist Craig James, the latest data indicates a multi-speed national economy. NSW remains on top, followed by ACT and Victoria, which are separated by little. There is then a significant gap to Tasmania, Queensland, Northern Territory and South Australia, and another gap to Western Australia.
NSW: NSW has the best-performing economy in Australia, and is at or near the top on all indicators. NSW leads on business investment, retail trade and dwelling starts.
ACT: The ACT has overtaken Victoria to move into the second spot, although little separates the two states. ACT has improved its position on five of the eight indicators. The state is seeing stronger population growth, low unemployment and solid residential and engineering work.
Victoria: Victoria has dropped to third spot in the rankings. The state leads in population growth, with a population increase of 2.13 per cent compared to last year.
Tasmania: Tasmania remains in fourth position, with little separating it from Queensland, the Northern Territory and South Australia. The state ranks second in unemployment, however it is seeing its fastest population growth in five years, which is boosting housing demand and supporting the job market.
Queensland: Queensland is in fifth position. Its economy is driven by tourism, exports and housing activity. The state is the second-weakest in unemployment and construction work, although this is expected to be temporarily offset by post-flood rebuilding and repairs.
Northern Territory: NT remains in sixth position. It has a strong job market, but population growth is weak, impacting on retail and housing demand. The state has the weakest population growth, retail spending, home lending, dwelling starts and business investment.
South Australia: South Australia is in seventh position, with potential to improve its economy over the coming year. Employment is growing at the fastest annual rate in almost six years, which is improving retail spending.
Western Australia: Western Australia continues to lag behind the other states, with annual growth rates below average on all indicators. However, the state is benefitting from higher mining and metal prices and record export volumes, as well as an ease in unemployment.