Glimmer of hope for state

TASMANIA is "beginning to come out of very dark place", according to one economist, despite a damning report on the state of the economy.

The State of the State report, released yesterday by CommSec, that judged the performances of state and territory economies, said Tasmania was "locked at the bottom of Australia's economic performance table".

The report rated Western Australia as the best performing economy.

Tasmanian economist Saul Eslake said that while the report was a neat and simple way of looking at the state of economies, it did not cover everything.

"It hasn't picked up that Western Australia's economy slowed quite abruptly last year," Mr Eslake said.

"In a relative sense, the hare has been slowing down and the tortoise is picking up a bit," he said.

Mr Eslake said while proportions of Tasmanians working fell 1.3 per cent, Western Australia's workers dropped by 1.6 per cent.

He said retail was relatively growing faster in Tasmania than anywhere else.

While Tasmania was a long way behind, Mr Eslake said "it is beginning to come out of a very dark place, whereas WA is starting to see clouds loom on its horizon".

Pembroke Liberal MLC Vanessa Goodwin blamed the bad performance on the government.

"If ever there was a report that showed what an absolute disaster the Labor-Green government has been this report is it," she said.

Premier Lara Giddings said the report pointed to better times ahead for Tasmania.

"I acknowledge that the CommSec report still highlights challenges for the state economy, however, due to its methodology it does not account for more recent positive developments," Ms Giddings said.

"Indeed, the report says that if monthly retail trade was assessed, Tasmania would move to top spot," she said.

Ms Goodwin said despite a rise in housing finance and a boost in retail, the report still showed a troubled time for Tasmania.

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