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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
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Rick Clayburgh, 701-328-2770 

April 3, 2002

Kathryn Strombeck, Research Analyst,             701-328-3402

Retail Sales Exceeds $1 Billion in 4th Quarter

BISMARCK ---Triggered by the retail trade sector with sales exceeding $1 billion dollars, taxable sales and purchases rose by almost seven percent during the months of October, November, and December, Tax Commissioner Rick Clayburgh announced today.

“A 6.8 percent increase over last year and the fact that we experienced growth in all industry sectors shows promise, especially following so closely after the September 11 tragedies,” said Commissioner Clayburgh.

The total taxable sales and purchases for all industry sectors was just over $1.9 billion for the fourth quarter, a 6.8 percent increase compared to the same quarter in 2000.  Of this amount, the retail trade sector contributed much to the growth trend, reporting $1.057 billion for an 8.3 percent increase compared to the same quarter in 2000.

 “This is a milestone for the North Dakota economy and retail trade in North Dakota,” said Commissioner Clayburgh, “and only the second time our retailers reported more than $1 billion in taxable sales and purchases in a quarter.”  The first time retailers exceeded $1 billion in taxable sales and purchases happened during the 1999 fourth quarter with $1.004 billion.

In addition to the retail trade sector, all other sectors also reported growth.  Manufacturing grew by 5.7 percent, the wholesale trade industry increased by 4.4 percent, mining and oil extraction rose 4.2 percent, and construction was up by 1.6 percent.  Transportation, communication, and public utilities remained relatively stable, with a slight increase of .7 percent.

“To date North Dakota has avoided the slow economy felt by most other states,” said Clayburgh.  Clayburgh was cautiously optimistic and warned that North Dakota might still feel the impact of the weak spending activity, “The 2002 first quarter may be fragile because typically the national economy affects North Dakota later than most other states.”

Of the 50 largest cities, the biggest percentage increases in the last quarter of 2001 were in the double-digits with Northwood up 52.7 percent; Lincoln up 40.3 percent; Ellendale up 37 percent; West Fargo up 23.8 percent; and Walhalla up 20.8 percent.

The biggest percentage fourth quarter decreases for the 50 largest cities, were in Park River down 15.9 percent; Cooperstown down 14.4 percent; Cavalier down 12.9 percent; New Town down 11.6 percent; and New Rockford down 8.5 percent.

Counties experiencing the highest percentage fourth quarter increases were Slope up 67.4 percent; McLean up 38.4 percent; LaMoure up 34.8 percent; Benson up 28.3 percent; and Divide up 23.3 percent.

The counties with the biggest percentage of decrease were Traill down 13.6 percent; Griggs down 10 percent; Sheridan down 7.7 percent; Pembina down 6.6 percent; and Kidder down 6.6 percent.

Complete North Dakota Sales and Use Tax Statistical Reports can be accessed on our web site at: www.nd.gov/tax

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