Construction Growth Key Driver in ‘State of States’ Report

Monday, October 21st, 2013
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Western Australia remains the top performer but the fortunes of all the states and territories are expected to improve, following the election of a new federal government.

Commonwealth Securities’ quarterly State of States report says there’s been no slippage in WA’s number one ranking and the ACT continues to hold the second spot.

But there is now little separating the Northern Territory, Queensland, NSW and Victoria, before a gap to South Australia and a further gap to Tasmania, which lags on all economic criteria.

Each quarter CommSec uses eight key indicators to rank the states and territories – economic growth, retail spending, equipment investment, unemployment, construction work done, population growth, housing finance and dwelling commencements.

But CommSec chief economist Craig James says all economies should lift now that the uncertainty of the federal election is finally out of the way.

“While a slowdown in mining investment will affect some regions, this will be offset by a lift in residential building,” he says in the report released on Monday.

“NSW, Western Australia, Queensland and ACT are expected to benefit most from a lift in home building.”

In the latest assessment, WA leads the way on retail trade, is second strongest on economic growth, business investment, construction work done, housing finance and population growth, and finished third on unemployment and fourth on dwelling starts.

The ACT’s main strengths are in housing and population growth, while the NT finished first in economic growth and construction work done.

There is still little separating the nation’s three largest Queensland, NSW, and Victoria.  Queensland is strongest on business investment, NSW is strongest on unemployment, and Victoria is second on unemployment and third strongest on housing finance.

South Australia is middle ranking on construction work and fifth on housing finance, but is sixth or seventh on every other indicator.  Tasmania remains locked at the bottom of the economic performance table, lagging all other economies on all of the eight indicators.

However, Mr James said firm wages growth and improved housing affordability on the island state is being reflected in a lift in retail spending.

“If this leads to increased employment then there will be potential for stronger economic momentum in coming months,” he said.

By Colin Brinsden, AAP Economics Correspondent
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