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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, Tax Commissioner 701-328-2770
July 11, 2002 Kathryn Strombeck, Research Analyst, 701-328-3402

North Dakota First Quarter Total Taxable Sales and Purchases Dip Retail Sales Remain Strong

BISMARCK --- The North Dakota Office of State Tax Commissioner released figures today showing North Dakota’s total taxable sales and purchases during January, February, and March of 2002 were $1.5 billion, a drop of 1.4 percent compared to the first quarter of 2001. 

North Dakota’s retail trade sector, the largest component of total taxable sales and purchases, grew over 5.1 percent compared to the same quarter a year ago. Nationally, retail trade gained only 3.2 percent for the same time frame.

Tax Commissioner Rick Clayburgh said, “Generally, retail sales are a good barometer of consumer confidence. The continued strong activity in the retail trade sector coupled with preliminary second quarter revenues are positive signals for North Dakota’s economy.”

Clayburgh noted revenues from monthly sales tax returns filed in April, May, and June are strong, indicating likely growth in taxable sales and purchases for the second quarter once all the returns have been filed and processed. Clayburgh added that the remaining second quarter 2002 sales tax returns are not due until July 31.

In addition to the growth in the retail trade, the construction sector grew over 13.2 percent and wholesale trade numbers were strong, with the farm machinery and farm repair parts sector ahead of first quarter 2001 by 6.6 percent.

Clayburgh expressed continued concerns for the agricultural sector, “Our farmers are facing another year of weather-related hardships of either drought conditions or excessive rains, as well as low prices, which means an on-going struggle for our rural communities. The July 1, 2002 sales tax exemption of used farm machinery and repair parts will provide a small, necessary boost to this vital sector of our economy."

Other sectors reported a decline. The mining and oil extraction sector fell 31 percent when compared to 2001 first quarter levels. Manufacturing numbers were soft, falling 14.7 percent from the same quarter, transportation, communication and public utilities numbers dropped 22.7 percent, and the services sector remained relatively stable dropping 1.9 percent.

Of the 50 largest cities, the biggest percentage increases for first quarter of 2002 were: Northwood, up 39.8; Ellendale up 30.6 percent; Hazen, up 19.4 percent; Stanley, up 15.1 percent; and West Fargo, up 12.4 percent.

The biggest percentage first quarter decreases for the 50 largest cities, were in Beach, down 42.5 percent; Tioga, down 21.2 percent; Cooperstown, down 17.7 percent; Hillsboro, down 16.3 percent; and Park River down 14.7 percent.

Counties with the highest percentage increases were Sheridan, up 44.9 percent; Sargent, up 24.3 percent; Nelson, up 20.3 percent; McKenzie, up 15.5 percent; and Burke, up 14.3 percent.

The counties with the biggest percentage decreases were Golden Valley, down 41.9 percent; Dunn, down 17.3 percent; Hettinger, down 13.9 percent; Cavalier, down 13.3 percent; and Sioux, down 11.3 percent.

Complete North Dakota Sales and Use Tax Statistical Reports from First Quarter 2002 can be accessed on the web at: www.nd.gov/tax/salesanduse/forms/

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