CommSec’s State of the States report has ranked Tasmania the nation’s best-performing economy for the fifth quarter in a row, the ACT remains in second spot.

CommSec economist Craig James says Tasmania and the ACT have “solidly held” their top positions and are expected to stay there in coming months.

The report shows little to separate the five other major economies, with the Northern Territory still in eighth spot, although it has improved.

Western Australia is the most improved, leaping from joint sixth position to third, with mining and home building providing significant momentum.

Victoria has slipped from third position to fourth but remains the strongest for construction work and also jumped to the top spot for home lending.

South Australia is in fifth spot, followed by Queensland, then NSW, where annual population growth is at its slowest rate in 25.5 years.