The ACT has maintained its position as the second-worst overall performing economy in the country for the third quarter in a row this year, according to the latest CommSec State of States report. But despite rising cost of living and negative real wages, the territory continued to lead the nation in retail trade, with real spending 14 per cent higher with the latest available data in the June quarter on its decade-average levels. The territory also had the strongest annual growth in retail trade, up 2.1 per cent. By comparison, at the other end of the scale, retail spending in Queensland was down 3.7 per cent. Now in its fifteenth year, the CommSec report ranks states and territories' economic performance every quarter on eight key indicators, including economic growth, retail spending and unemployment. Victoria took out the top spot as the nation's economic leader, jumping up from fifth place last quarter in a surprise shake-up. But the report said that there was "little to separate" the top six economies in the September quarter, with South Australia ranked second, followed by New South Wales, Queensland, Western Australia and Tasmania. The ACT came in seventh, ahead of the Northern Territory. It noted that Australia's state and territory economies "are slowing in response to higher borrowing costs and price pressures", and will be affected by how inflation responds to interest rates. READ MORE: Acknowledging that its economic performance criteria disadvantaged a small open economy like the Northern Territory, the report also ranked each state and territory according to its annual growth in each economic indicator. By this metric, the ACT bested the Northern Territory and Tasmania to place sixth in terms of annual growth across all eight indicators. While the ACT led in retail spending, it lagged in relative population growth; an "important driver of the broader economy especially retail spending and housing demand," the report said. The nation's capital ranked second-last in terms of relative population growth, being the only state or territory where the rate was unchanged compared to the decade average. Tasmania was the only state to do worst, reporting a 62.5 per cent drop in population growth on the decade average. In terms of job markets, despite having one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country, the ACT ranked second-last when this was compared to the decade average. South Australia led the board in terms of improvement: its record-low jobless rate of 3.7 per cent in the September quarter was a whopping 38.9 per cent below the decade-national average. By comparison, the ACT's unemployment rate of 3.4 per cent was only 11.4 per cent below. At the same time, the territory had some of the fastest job growth in the country, coming in third behind South Australia and Victoria.