The CommSec State of the States report put South Australia on the top of the pile after the state ranked first on four of the eight indicators the economic analysts consider.
It marks the first time in the 14 years CommSec has been creating the report that SA has secured the number one position.
According to CommSec, the positions are determined by comparing state economic performance against what is “normal”. It uses decade averages to judge this normal state of affairs and compares that against current performance.
As such, SA climbed to the top by ranking first on relative economic growth, relative unemployment, construction work done and dwelling starts.
Victoria and New South Wales took out equal second in the rankings, followed by Western Australia, Tasmania, the Australian Capital Territory, Queensland and the Northern Territory.
Premier Peter Malinauskas welcomed the result and said: “Significant government investment in housing and infrastructure and thriving exports have helped drive our State’s economic activity”.
“We know there is more to be done to ease pressure on households in the community and will continue doing what we can to provide targeted cost-of-living support,” he said.
On economic growth, SA led with a 9 per cent rise against the four-year average output level. It also topped the unemployment measure, with unemployment in SA at 3.8 per cent in December 2023 – 36.5 per cent below the decade-average level.
Construction work done in SA was 23.4 per cent up on the decade average, ahead of NSW at 18.3 per cent, and dwelling starts in SA were 2.3 per cent below the decade average – the best in the nation as no state or territory returned positive growth on this measure.
SA also recorded the highest rate of inflation nationally at 5.9 per cent, ahead of Perth at 5.8 per cent.
South Australian Treasurer Stephen Mullighan said the result was a “clear sign that our investment in our economy is delivering results”.
“We are the lowest-taxing state on the mainland, we’ve cut stamp duty for first home buyers, and we’ve boosted investment in infrastructure,” he said.
CommSec chief economist Craig James said higher borrowing costs and inflation were hurting state and territory economies, while a solid jobs market and strong population growth were working in the opposite direction.
“The future path will depend on the response of inflation to higher interest rates,” he explained.
– With AAP