Surprise state has nation’s top economy

The Apple Isle has again taken out the mantle of Australia’s best performing economy, while coronavirus-stricken Victoria has dropped from second to third spot, according to a report.

The CommSec State of the States reports analyses eight key indicators and, just like the Reserve Bank does with interest rates, uses decade averages to judge the “normal” state of affairs.

It is the second straight quarter Tasmania has held the top title after housing finance roared ahead and dwelling starts lifted during the three months to September 30.

It also ranked highest for relative population growth, equipment investment and retail trade.

Retail spending in Tasmania jumped 11.4 per cent above the decade-average levels reached in the June quarter, supported by success in suppressing the virus.

The ACT overtook Victoria as the nation’s second strongest economy, enjoying the best relative unemployment figures.

And while new car sales are not among the eight indicators, CommSec noted the ACT was the only jurisdiction where annual sales were above “normal”.

Unsurprisingly, Victoria’s retail trade was hit hard during the quarter – with spending slipping from second to fifth place – but the state still ranked first on relative economic growth and construction work.

NSW shares equal fourth spot with South Australia, then in joint sixth position are Queensland and Western Australia.

“There is now little to separate NSW, South Australia, Queensland and Western Australia on the performance rankings,” CommSec said.

Resources-rich WA is ranked second on relative economic growth and continues to edge away from the eighth-ranked Northern Territory.

WA has also been a standout in suppressing the virus, and accordingly, retail spending was up 4.5 per cent on the decade average.

“Economic momentum is on its side,” CommSec said.

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