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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
January 10, 2003 Kathryn Strombeck, Research Analyst, 701-328-3402

North Dakota Retail Trade Up During 3rd Quarter

BISMARCK --- Tax Commissioner Rick Clayburgh announced today that total taxable sales and purchases made during July, August, and September 2002 were $1.804 billion, down 3.6 percent or about $67 million compared to the third quarter 2001.

The new sales tax exemption eliminating tax on the sales of used farm machinery and repair parts became effective on July 1, 2002. This is the first quarterly comparison report that includes the new exemption.

"If the sales of used farm machinery and repair parts had been exempt in both quarters, we would have had modest growth," said Commissioner Clayburgh. "Other regional, national, and international factors, such as excessive weather conditions, the lingering effects of Wall Street investments, and concerns about possible conflict in the Middle East continue to affect the economy."

Retail trade reported a 2.26 percent growth over third quarter 2001 figures while other sectors remained relatively stable or dropped during the third quarter of 2002. Mining and Oil Extraction dropped by .3 percent, Transportation, Communications and Public Utilities slowed by .8 percent, and Construction dropped by 1.1 percent.

"This is the fifth consecutive quarter of growth in retail trade," said Commissioner Clayburgh, "and early reports suggest our North Dakota retailers continued this trend during the holiday shopping season."

Other sectors reporting drops include the Services sector, down by 3.5 percent; Manufacturing down by 4.9 percent; and Wholesale trade dropped by 20.7 percent.

Clayburgh indicated that the drop in the wholesale trade sector was due to the new sales tax exemption that became effective during the third quarter.

Of the 50 largest cities, the biggest percentage increases for third quarter of 2002 were: Walhalla, up 18.8 percent; West Fargo up 10.7 percent; Fargo, up 4 percent; Grand Forks, up 2.9 percent; and Oakes, up 2.3 percent.

The biggest percentage third quarter decreases for the 50 largest cities, were in Beach, down 61.4 percent; Tioga, down 40.3 percent; Washburn, down 33.4 percent; Kenmare, down 33 percent; and Wishek down 32 percent.

Counties with the highest percentage increases were Sioux, up 47.8 percent; Slope, up 21.3 percent; Cass, up 3.5 percent; Billings, up 3 percent; and Sheridan, up 2.6 percent.

The counties with the biggest percentage decreases were Golden Valley, down 60.7 percent; LaMoure, down 47 percent; Nelson, down 46.3 percent; Grant, down 42.8 percent; and Renville, down 35.6 percent.

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

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