Western Australia has once again been judged the country's best performing economy, with the Northern Territory closing the gap in second place.
CommSec's quarterly State of the States report shows WA topping the population growth, retail trade, equipment investment and completed construction work categories.
The remaining four categories are economic growth, unemployment, housing finance and housing construction commencements, with low unemployment and strong economic growth underpinning the Top End's rise.
CommSec's chief economist Craig James says the Top End has momentum on its side, and may overtake Western Australia at the top of the leader board later this year.
"Super low unemployment - below decade averages - and that's together with a degree of strength in investment, fuelling overall economic growth," he noted.
"Population growth though is slow compared with what's normal in the Territory, and that's constraining the housing finance area and housing more generally, but I think we're going to see a pick up in terms of that as the year goes through." The ACT is the third-best performing economy, followed by Queensland, Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia and Tasmania.
Craig James says there has not been a great deal of change from the last quarterly report.
"If you look across the economies, really they're pretty much the same as the previous quarter," he observed.
"So I think what we're seeing is more of a consolidation, and really what is clear is that Western Australia's out in front by a country mile." Mr James says housing activity is also picking up in WA.
"It could be that the state is firing on all cylinders over the next couple of quarters," he added.
Best of the rest The ACT's economy has been boosted by strong home construction, but Craig James says public sector job cuts are posing a particular threat to its economy.
"Compared with what's normal in the ACT, that unemployment rate is creeping up," he said.
"Certainly that's something to watch, particularly as government looks to cut back not just the ACT administration but also the Federal Government in terms of public sector numbers." Mr James says Queensland's performance has been supported by mining investment, but held back by high unemployment.
"Compared with the decade average, it's the second-worst performance, and if you've got relatively high unemployment and not super-fast population growth, compared with what's normal, that has effects on the overall economy," he observed.
"But Queensland is seeing a degree of investment occurring in the mining sector that's fuelling commercial building." New South Wales boasts a good jobs market, but weak economic growth is continuing to hold the state back in the bottom half of the rankings.
"The unemployment rate isn't too far away from its normal decade average, so it's pretty much a normal performance," Mr James said.
"But it's seeing a degree of weakness in overall economic growth.
That gets back to the fact that the housing sector hasn't been performing and population growth's been low, but we are starting to see a pick up in terms of the housing sector and that's quite encouraging." Across the southern border, Mr James says housing construction is the main factor which has been supporting Victoria's economy.
"It's number one in terms of housing finance and is the third-strongest in terms of dwelling commencements," Mr James explained.
"But Victoria is seeing a degree of weakness in overall investment, and certainly that's something that the state government needs to be focusing on, as well as some of the business leaders." There is then a big gap to South Australia, which has been struggling due to a lack of population growth and therefore home construction.
"Probably the key strength in terms of South Australia is the fact that population growth is picking up and that's a really encouraging development," Mr James said.
"Unemployment is relatively low, population is picking up and, hopefully, that will lift the housing sector, because that's the real area of weakness." Mr James says Tasmania is the real laggard, with weakness across most of the economic indicators.
"Tasmania's finding difficulties in getting momentum.
Tasmania is last in four of the eight indicators, second last on two of the indicators and certainly really finding a degree of challenge to move forward," he observed.
"If there's any area of strength for Tasmania, it's equipment investment."