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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
May 16, 2003 Kathy Strombeck, Research Analyst 701-328-3402

North Dakota Taxable Sales and Purchases Stable in 2002

BISMARCK --- Tax Commissioner Rick Clayburgh released a key statistical report today that shows taxable sales and purchases for the year 2002 dropped by 1.5 percent. Taxable sales and purchases exceeded $7.045 billion as compared to $7.154 billion for 2001.

Clayburgh said "The overall decline is due primarily to used farm machinery and repair parts which became exempt from sales tax on July 1, 2002. This new exemption is a significant factor and had it been in effect for both the comparison year and the current year, the state would have experienced overall growth of about one-half of one percent."

A 58.6 percent increase in the other mining category helped increase the total taxable sales and purchases for the mining and oil extraction sector by 6.23 percent in 2002 compared to 2001 figures. The other mining category is primarily sand and gravel used for construction- purposes.

Retail trade, the largest of the industry categories, contributed the most to the overall amount of growth, increasing by more than $125 million from 2001 or 3.4 percent.

"The retail sector is often used as a measure of the overall health of the economy," said Clayburgh. "Even with rising oil prices, faltering consumer confidence and the heightened risk of war, our retail sector remained solid during 2002."

The construction sector remained steady when compared to 2001, growing just under one percent. The services sector remained relatively stable as well, with a decrease of 0.1 percent. Manufacturing dropped by $22 million from 2001, or 6.9 percent; wholesale trade dropped by 9.6 percent; and transportation decreased by 11.3 percent.

"This is a good, overall report given the challenges we faced during 2002," Clayburgh said, "even with the decline in the used farm machinery and repair parts. We anticipate that those numbers will level off to reflect normal activity during the last six months of 2003 once the exemption is factored out of the statistics."

Included in the annual report are statistics for each of the state's 53 counties. Sioux County led all counties with increases in 2002, with a 19.1 percent growth over 2001. Burke County was next, increasing by 9.5 percent; Slope County was up 9 percent; Grand Forks County was up by 3.8 percent; and Cass County up by 3.1 percent. The counties registering the sharpest decline were Golden Valley County with a drop of 51.7 percent; followed by Grant County down 26.5 percent; Logan County down 21.4 percent; Dunn County down 20.3 percent; and McHenry County down 19.4 percent.

The complete North Dakota Sales and Use Tax Statistical Report for 2002 can be accessed on the Office of State Tax Commissioner's website: www.nd.gov/tax.

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