Real estate and retail propel NSW forward in economic report
BOOMING property markets and retail spending have pushed New South Wales further ahead in the nation's economic rankings.
Commsec's latest State of the States report found NSW had regained its top ranking on population growth and was number one on new home construction.
It ranked second on business investment and housing finance, but fourth on overall construction work and unemployment and fifth on economic growth.
The report found NSW had stretched its lead, with Northern Territory dropping back from a shared first place last quarter into second.
Labor took aim at the Baird Government for the state's poor figures on economic growth and 6.1% unemployment rate - fifth on the ladder behind Western Australia, Queensland, ACT and South Australia.
"It's even worse in regional NSW where unemployment is in double digits - 12.4% in the Hunter; 11% in the Murray and 10.6% in Richmond-Tweed," Labor leader Luke Foley said.
"If this is Mike Baird's idea of a nation-leading economy I'd hate to see what his idea of being on the bottom rung would be like.
"If interest rates rise and the housing market cools off, Mike Baird will be like the emperor with no clothes."
Commsec chief economist Craig James said NSW was expected to hold onto its top spot for at least the next three to six months.
"Northern Territory will probably hold onto second spot but beneath that, in terms of the rankings, we could see Victoria as the big improver, perhaps taking Western Australia's third spot and perhaps moving up even further into Northern Territory's number two spot," he said.
"In terms of Queensland, it will probably hold its position around the middle of the economic performance table."
Mr James said Tasmania could be another "big mover", with its unemployment rate at a three-year low of 6.5%.
1. New South Wales
Strength: Retail spending
2. Northern Territory
Weakness: Housing finance
3. Western Australia
Strength: Retail trade
Strength: Home lending
Weakness: Equipment spending
Strength: Business investment
Strength: Housing finance
7. South Australia
Strength: Population growth
Weakness: Dwelling starts