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600 E. Boulevard Ave.
  Bismarck, ND 58505-0599
  701.328.7088 phone
  701.328.3700 fax
  877.328.7088 toll-free

Contact: Rick Clayburgh, 701-328-2770 

September 28, 2001

Kathryn Strombeck, Research Analyst, 701-328-3402

Second Quarter Taxable Sales and Purchases Gain

BISMARCK ---Tax Commissioner Rick Clayburgh announced today that total taxable sales and purchases made during April, May, and June 2001 were $1.799 billion, up by more than $46 million over the second quarter 2000.  The $46 million represents a 2.6 percent increase.  Clayburgh indicated the release of the report had been postponed in light of the September 11 tragedy.

 “During the second quarter, nation-wide consumer confidence was soft and suggested a slowing economy.  Our state was no different,” said Commissioner Clayburgh.  “This report is encouraging, regardless of the relatively small percent of increase, and it shows the resilience of North Dakota’s diverse economy.”

 The transportation, communication, and public utilities sector continued to experience growth, reporting a 23.4 percent increase in taxable sales over the same time one year ago.

“Strong sales in cell phone and cable services continue to help stimulate this sector,” said Clayburgh.  “And, the high energy prices have been a factor as well.”

Wholesale trade continued to show strength, increasing 10.6 percent.  Clayburgh said he was particularly pleased by the growth in wholesale trade because it included 25 percent growth in farm machinery and farm repair parts.  Clayburgh mentioned that the 1999 Legislative cut to the sales tax rate on farm repair parts and used farm machinery may have contributed to the increased sales.

“Agriculture is an important part of our state’s economy,” said Clayburgh, “and we continue to watch this sector for signals that the downturn in the farming economy is leveling off.”

The construction sector reported a drop of 33.5 percent, mining and oil extraction fell by 2.4 percent, and manufacturing activity dropped 1 percent.  Retail trade and taxable services were down less than one-half of one percent from last year’s level.

Clayburgh noted that the third and fourth quarter reports will likely reveal more about the state’s reaction to the national economic slowdown and the effects of the September 11 terrorism attacks.   It is too early to tell if North Dakota will once again prove itself counter-cyclical, posting gains in taxable sales and purchases when much of the nation is experiencing decreases.

Of the 50 largest cities, the biggest percentage increases in the second quarter of 2001 were in the double-digits with Ellendale, up 34.3 percent; Stanley, up 29.3 percent; Kenmare up 27.8 percent; Hillsboro, up 27.3 percent; and Tioga, up 24.3 percent.

The biggest percentage second quarter decreases for the 50 largest cities, were in Langdon, down 15.2 percent; Oakes, down 14.4 percent; Casselton, down 13.3 percent; Mayville, down 11.1 percent; and Wahpeton down 6.7 percent.

Counties experiencing the highest percentage second quarter increases were McLean, up 43.3 percent; Nelson, up 36.5 percent; Grant, up 33.4 percent; Oliver, up 31.3 percent; and Logan, up 24.9 percent.

The counties with the biggest percentage of decrease were Sheridan, down 26.3 percent; Sioux, down 18.8 percent; Sargent, down 18.2 percent; Kidder, down 15 percent; and Cavalier down 13.7 percent.

Complete North Dakota Sales and Use Tax Statistical Reports from Second Quarter 2001 can be accessed on the web at: www.nd.gov../forms/sales.html

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