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Which are the best performing states ?

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If you're moving to Australia and haven't decided where to want to live yet, it may be worthwhile keeping an eye on CommSec's  'State of the States' reports. 

The quarterly report attempts to find out how Australia’s states and territories performing by analysing eight key indicators:

  • economic growth
  • retail spending
  • equipment investment
  • unemployment
  • construction work done
  • population growth
  • housing finance
  • dwelling commencements.

Just as the Reserve Bank uses long-term averages to determine the level of “normal” interest rates; CommSec do 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.

The latest 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.  




FIRST - New South Wales



SECOND - Victoria



THIRD - Australian Capital Territory



FOURTH - Tasmania



FIFTH - South Australia



SIXTH - Queensland



SEVENTH - Northern Territory



EIGHTH - Western Australia



NSW has secured top rankings on five of the eight economic indicators: retail trade, dwelling starts, equipment investment, construction work and unemployment. NSW is second on economic growth and in third spot on population growth and housing finance.

Victoria is second on the economic performance rankings for five of the eight indicators: retail trade, housing finance, population growth, construction work done and equipment investment. The lowest ranking is fifth on the unemployment rate.

The ACT held on to third spot on the rankings. The biggest improvement has been the job market, with annual employment growth now the strongest in almost a decade. The ACT is top-ranked on housing finance.

Tasmania has lifted from fifth to fourth position. Tasmania now is top-ranked on relative population growth and is third-placed on equipment investment and unemployment. Population growth is the strongest in 6½ years.

South Australia has eased from fourth to fifth on the performance rankings. South Australia is ranked fourth on four of the eight indicators.

Queensland remains in sixth position. But the outlook is promising with annual employment growth the fastest in the nation and just off the fastest for the state in over a decade.

The Northern Territory retains its seventh position on the economic performance rankings. The Territory is top ranked on economic growth but now lags all other economies on six of the eight indicators. Employment is now lower than a year ago in trend terms. The good news is that exports are growing strongly, up 35 per cent on a year ago.

The economic performance of Western Australia continues to reflect the ending of the mining construction boom. But employment growth was just off the strongest levels seen in five years. And annual population growth has lifted for the past four quarters.


adobe-pdf-icon.pngDownload the full report: CommSec_State_of_the_States_January2018.pdf


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Population Growth

CommSec's latest State of the States report showed Tasmania had jumped on top of the relative population rankings with its 0.64 per cent annual population growth rate.

A decade ago the rate of growth was 0.55 per cent.

The fastest population growth in six years helped boost Tasmania's overall ranking from the fifth to the fourth-best performing economy, ahead of South Australia and Queensland.

The Liberal Government has set a target to grow the population to 650,000 people by 2050 (the population is about 520,000).


Property Market

A recent CoreLogic report showed Hobart was by far the strongest housing market in the country for the month, quarter and year — rising by 1.5, 3.1 and 12.3 per cent respectively.

The main reason for capital appreciation in the city's housing market was its affordability, compared to other capital cities.

The median dwelling price in Hobart (including houses and apartments) was about $404,000 — compared to $895,000 in Sydney and $720,000 in Melbourne.


Jobs Market

According to the Deloitte report, Tasmania's job market has improved, which helped to reduce the unemployment rate.

"Subject to the important caveat that the numbers for smaller states should be taken with a grain of salt, job gains over the past year are very strong, at over 3 per cent," the report stated.

"That's helped reduce the unemployment rate from its level of a year ago, although at just over 6 per cent still, Tasmania is now the recipient of the unwanted title of highest unemployment rate jurisdiction [with South Australia carving chunks out of its previously highest unemployment rate]."

The report also showed Tasmania's engineering construction sector improved over the last year, with the value of work done now back above the levels seen during the last peak in 2013-14.

Business investment picked up and small business confidence was higher than the national average.



The number of interstate and international visitors to Tasmania is booming, helping to boost the state's tourism sector.

According to Deloitte, international visitors increased by 16 per cent in 2016-17, with their spending up by 24 per cent.

In 2016-2017, Tasmania attracted nearly 1.27 million visitors, that spent a total of $2.26 billion throughout the state during their stay.

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At a guess, probably NSW & Victoria as they nick and keep the money off the states who actually produce stuff. So, wouldn't be surprised to see WA & QLD near the bottom.

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