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Tasmania tops CommSec index, SA second

Business

The Australian economy remains in a solid shape in the face of the pandemic but Tasmania is the stand out state for the eighth quarter in a row, Commonwealth Securities says, with the South Australian economy ranking second.

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In its quarterly State of States report, CommSec says Tasmania has again held on to top slot and is likely to remain so in the short-term, but it warns much can change over 2022.

The other state and territories followed closely together, with South Australia ranked second, Victoria third, Western Australia fourth, Queensland fifth, NSW sixth, the ACT seventh and the Northern Territory eighth.

“The Western Australian and South Australian economies have moved up the rankings, performing strongly during the pandemic,” CommSec chief economist Craig James says.

WA has benefited from a surge in iron ore exports and prices, while SA has enjoyed strong government and business investment, James said.

Tasmania leads on four of the eight indicators – equipment, unemployment, retail spending and dwelling starts – and ranks second on another two – economic growth and construction work done.

James said all Australia’s state and territory economies are in solid shape, supported by strong fiscal and monetary stimulus with unemployment rates historically-low across much of the nation.

“Labour is in short supply across many industries, a reflection of current COVID-related self-isolation requirements and border restrictions,” he said.

It comes after ABS jobs data last Thursday revealed South Australia’s unemployment rate had fallen below four per cent for the first time since records began in 1978, despite a decrease in the total number of people in work.

The data was taken before the onset of the current Omicron outbreak which has prompted density restrictions on retail and hospitality venues and a work from home policy that has disproportionality hit CBD businesses.

Treasurer Rob Lucas this morning touted the CommSec report as evidence of the state’s “economic rebound”.

“It’s important that we keep the momentum going to ensure SA’s strong economic recovery from the global COVID-19 pandemic continues,” he said in a statement this morning.

“We know we must continue to protect jobs and support SA businesses to get through these challenging times so they can help drive our economic recovery – which is exactly what our recently announced business support package does.”

 – AAP

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