Wa Remains The Economic Powerhouse

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October 21st, 2012

WESTERN Australia is still the nation's economic powerhouse but a slowdown in the mining sector could lead to weaker spending and a softer jobs market.

A report shows WA leads the other states in four of eight criteria over the past three months.

"Western Australia remains Australia's best-performing economy, but Northern Territory is coming up fast, with the Inpex natural gas project providing strong momentum to the Top End economy,'' the CommSec State of the States report says.

It says WA is still first or second on seven of the eight indicators, coming out on top in construction work, retail trade, population growth and equipment investment.

Over the past quarter WA held its position while Tasmania remained fixed at the bottom end of the scale.

The NT passed the ACT to take second spot after WA, while NSW improved to rank alongside Victoria and Queensland.

There was a sizeable gap to South Australia and then another significant gap to Tasmania.

WA's economic output was 34 per cent higher than the decade average level. It also outperformed the other states in terms of equipment investment.

With an unemployment rate of 3.9 per cent, both the NT and WA have arguably the strongest job markets in the nation.

In terms of population growth, WA is the clear leader with an annual growth rate of 3.14 per cent.

The report says home prices are lower than a year ago in only half of the state capitals.

The strongest growth in home prices was in Darwin, where they are up by 2.9 per cent, followed by Sydney, up 0.9 per cent.

The weakest home prices are in Melbourne, down by 3.8 per cent on a year ago.

Real wages were positive in all state economies in the June quarter, with the strongest growth in WA.