TASMANIA'S economy is showing greenshoots of recovery, but won't exit the woods anytime soon, according to economist Saul Eslake.
Australia's chief economist for Bank of America Merrill Lynch was responding to Premier Lara Giddings' claim last week that "Tasmania's economy is turning the corner".
Ms Giddings cited a report showing Tasmanian businesses were the most confident in Australia and the retention of a AA+ credit rating as the basis for her comments.
"Confidence amongst Tasmanian businesses increased by 8 percentage points in the September quarter to be the strongest of any state or territory," Ms Giddings said.
It followed good news on the sales front with retail trade figures showing turnover in Tasmania had grown for the fourth consecutive month.
"There is a little bit of evidence [of recovery] from some figures and not much from others," Mr Eslake said.
Building approvals have risen strongly in Tasmania, up 13.8 per cent in August compared to 4.9 per cent on the mainland since the December quarter.
Building approvals tend to be a leading indicator in economic trends because the housing cycle usually turns faster than other sectors.
"They are both encouraging signs, set against that, Tasmania's exports are not doing particularly well," he said.
For the three months ending August the state's exports were down 8.4 per cent, compared with the December quarter, while the mainland saw a 15.7 per cent increase, he said.
The difference between the figures can be explained by strong growth in iron ore, which is plentiful on the mainland compared to Tasmania.
Another downside was Tasmania's job figures, the worst in the country, with employment down 1.2 basis points compared to an increase of 0.6 basis points across Bass Strait.
However, job figures carry a lag of what's actually happening in real time.
"The fact that unemployment is doing poorly doesn't necessarily contradict what the Premier is saying," he said.
"But it also indicates how much ground we have to make up ... there is a very big gap to close."