State vs State: How the Aussie States and Territories compare

Australian states
Chris Sheedy By Chris Sheedy, CA Today

13 December 2016

How do Australia’s States and Territories measure up in terms of economic growth, business investment, construction and other key indicators?

To say that Australian States and Territories are competitive is to make an enormous understatement. Whether it’s business investment, population growth, employment, construction, tourism, major events or any other measure, each state’s closest competitor is often just across the border.

CommSec recently released its State of the States report comparing figures across a number of indicators. Here is how the states and territories stacked up.

1. Overall results

Top place was taken by NSW, particularly thanks to high levels of construction activity and business investment. In close second, and predicted to put in a stronger showing in 2017, is Victoria. Third place went to the ACT as higher home prices and economic growth boosted the capital’s performance. At the bottom of the list of eight states and territories is Western Australia, reflecting an end to the mining boom.

2. Economic growth

The big-ticket title was taken out by the Northern Territory, which came in at number one thanks to the fact that economic activity is 24.1% ahead of its decade-average output level. Second place went to the ACT, whose output is 23.1% above its decade average. NSW is not far behind, in third place. Tasmania wins the wooden spoon award with a 10.8% rise on its decade average.

If we look at nominal annual economic growth rates, Victoria comes in first at 5.4% above 12 months ago, ACT second with 5.1% and Tasmania third with 4.8%.

3. Retail spending

The big retail spenders are in NSW, with levels currently at 17% above decade-average spend. Victoria was a fair way behind in second spot at 14.2% and ACT wins bronze with 11.6%. The weakest figures came from the Northern Territory at 7%.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, NSW and Victoria took out the top two spots, and were also the only two states to record growth (17.6% and 0.8% respectively) over their decade average. The ACT took third spot with -11.1%, and the Northern Territory brought up the rear with -34.2%.

4. Business investment

The business investment figures add up to a lot more than the sum of their parts. They also represent confidence, liveability, talent availability and international connections.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, NSW and Victoria took out the top two spots, and were also the only two states to record growth (17.6% and 0.8% respectively) over their decade average. The ACT took third spot with -11.1%, and the Northern Territory brought up the rear with -34.2%.

5. Unemployment

Looking at current performance against the decade average, the Northern Territory is the high performer at -14.6%, followed by NSW at -6.1% and the ACT at -4.2%. Western Australia, reflecting the drop-off in mining employment levels, sees unemployment rates 40.1% higher than the decade average.

6. Construction work

Only four states reported the value of construction of residential, commercial and engineering projects above their decade average. The Northern Territory is up 30.6% thanks to various gas projects, NSW is up 20.6%, closely followed by Victoria on 19.9%. Tasmania was the only other state in positive territory, with construction work coming in 0.9% above decade averages.

Queensland ended up in last place with a -19% construction value compared to the decade average.

7. Population growth

This is another figure that says a lot more than first appears. Population growth reflects liveability, employment opportunity, increasing retail spending and prospects of growth in other areas.

Once again each state had its current growth compared to its decade average and only two states showed growth above that average. Victoria was the top performer at 8.4%. NSW is in second place at 2.2%. Slowest growth is in the Northern Territory with -76% against the ten-year average.


About the author

Chris Sheedy is one of Australia’s busiest and most successful freelance writers. He has been published regularly in the Sydney Morning Herald, Virgin Australia Voyeur, The Australian Magazine, GQ, In The Black, Cadillac, Management Today, Men’s Fitness and countless other big-brand publications. He is frequently commissioned to carry out copywriting and corporate writing projects for organisations, including banks, universities, television networks, restaurant chains and major charities, through his business The Hard Word.

Topics

  • Business
  • Australia

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