\n Follow more Sydney news on Facebook \n NSW has added almost 25 per cent more jobs than the rest of the nation combined in the past six months, underscoring its status as Australia's top-performing state economy. Employment in NSW has grown by 85,600 since January while all the other states and territories together have added just 68,900 in that period, Bureau of Statistics employment trend figures show. Last month, NSW alone added 29,500 jobs, more than four times the next highest state. The NSW unemployment rate of 6 per cent is the lowest of any state and has been at, or below, the national average for almost two years. In another indicator of a robust labour market, the participation rate, which measures the proportion of working-age people in the labour force, is at a historic high. The housing sector has been a key factor in the state's strong economic performance. The number of building approvals in the state is at a 20-year high, boosting demand for construction-related employment. Rising house prices, especially in Sydney, have helped underpin retail spending, which has been comparatively healthy in NSW. Super-low interest rates have been disproportionately good for NSW because its households tend to be more indebted than those in other states. The weaker Australian dollar has helped important sectors of the NSW economy including tourism, international education and professional services. Robust population growth has also given the economy a boost. ANZ's co-head of Australian economics, Cherelle Murphy, said Australia's biggest state economy had a lot of things going for it. "The ducks are all lining up for NSW," she said. "And I don't think that's going to all turn around quickly; this trend seems fairly well entrenched." Even the outlook for business investment – a major concern in some parts of the country – was looking comparatively good in NSW, Ms Murphy said. Research by ANZ shows that employment growth in NSW over the past five years has been driven by four powerhouse service industries: health, education, hospitality and professional services. "About 75 per cent of total jobs in NSW have come from those four sectors," Ms Murphy said. A recent State of the States report by stockbroker CommSec showed NSW had consolidated its position as the nation's strongest-performing economy. NSW took over the top ranking from Western Australia last year. Ms Murphy said there were divergent economic trends at work across Australia's states, and regions as in Western Australia, and to a less extent Queensland, felt the weight of the resources downturn. The unemployment rate in Western Australia has jumped from 5.5 per cent to 6.3 per cent since January. "There are extremely different things going on across the country at the moment," she said. Data released by the bureau last week showed average wages in NSW were the second-highest among the states, behind Western Australia. Average weekly ordinary time earnings in NSW were $1512.10 per week, which was $29 higher than the national average. Western Australia's average was boosted by the high proportion of mining workers in that state. The bureau said the mining sector had the highest average wage at $132,000 per year. The next highest were professional, scientific and technical services ($93,350), finance insurance services ($89,736), and information media and telecommunications ($86,913).