THE nation's three most populous states are traversing the economic middle ground, a report on every state and territory economy revealed today.
In its latest quarterly State of the State report, CommSec chief economist Craig James wrote that the Northern Territory continued to lead the nation in economic growth.
But the NT was closely followed by resources powerhouse Western Australia, and the Australian Capital Territory.
On economic activity in 2012, the NT was 48% above decade trends, with WA 34% higher and the ACT on 21%.
The strengths in both WA and the NT were aligned with strong retail trade and construction work on the back of mining and gas investment.
On the eastern seaboard, Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria straddled the middle ground, with 18.1%, 11% and 13% above trend respectively.
A peak in the trend jobless rate in Queensland had slightly undermined the state's growth in construction, engineering and retail trade.
In NSW, almost the opposite was taking place, with an historically low unemployment figure, but rising population growth likely to see a housing sector resurgence.
And while Victoria's housing sector was currently propping up the economy, it was starting to lose momentum.
Analysis of each state's final demand, exports and imports data found the NT was top dog for economic activity.
The Top End, bolstered by the massive Inpex gas project, recorded economic activity at 48% above the decade trend for economic activity.
Next in line were Western Australia and the ACT, with output about 34% and 21% higher than the decade average, respectively.
In Queensland, economic activity reached 18.1% above the decade trend figures, primarily on the back of resource industry activity and flood rebuilding projects.
At the other end of the scale, activity in Tasmania was only 4.4% above trend, while NSW activity was up nearly 11% on trend.
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