WESTERN Australia is still the nation’s top economy, with the Northern Territory fast catching up, courtesy of activity driven by a $33 billion liquefied natural gas project, according to CommSec’s quarterly analysis.
The NT passed the ACT to take second spot, thanks to solid economic growth, a strong job market, firm retail spending and stronger new home construction starts, CommSec said in its report on the states and territories.
“WA remains Australia’s best performing economy, but the Northern Territory is coming up fast,” said report author and chief economist, Craig James.
CommSec uses eight key indicators to analyse the state and territory jurisdictions every quarter: economic growth, retail spending, equipment investment, unemployment, construction work done, population growth, housing finance and dwelling commencements.
WA still sits in the top two on seven out of the eight indicators, leading the way on construction, retail trade, population growth and equipment investment.
NSW showed growth during the quarter through firmer population growth and relatively low unemployment, which has boosted dwelling starts, to now rank alongside Victoria and Queensland.
Victoria has slipped due to higher unemployment, and Queensland also lost ground because of a weaker job market affecting housing finance.
Although South Australia is fourth for population growth, it ranks fifth or sixth on most indicators and is weakest on dwelling starts.
“The decision by BHP Billiton not to proceed on the Olympic Dam expansion in the short term will affect momentum in the economy,” Mr James said.
Tasmania retains the wooden spoon, lagging all other economies on five of the eight indicators.
Weak population growth and rising unemployment continued to restrain its retail spending and overall economic growth, Mr James said.
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