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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 28, 2003 Kathryn Strombeck, Research Analyst, 701-328-3402

North Dakota First Quarter Total Taxable Sales and Purchases Stable

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 2003 were $1.5 billion, a drop of .85 percent compared to the first quarter of 2002.

Clayburgh attributed the drop to the sales tax exemption set by the 2001 Legislature for used farm machinery and repair parts. That exemption went into effect July 1, 2002.

Commissioner Clayburgh said, "If the used farm machinery and repair parts would have been exempt in both periods, we would have had an increase of 3.2 percent."

Retail trade numbers, the largest component of total taxable sales and purchases, are generally used as one way to gauge the economy. During January, February, and March of 2003, North Dakota's retail trade sector grew by 1.2 percent when compared to the same time last year.

In addition to the retail trade growth, the mining and oil sector expanded 77.3 percent, the transportation, communication and public utilities sector grew by 18.7 percent, and the services sector was up 2.5 percent.

Other sectors reported a decline. The wholesale trade sector fell 19.4 percent when compared to 2002 first quarter levels. Included in the wholesale trade are the sales and purchases for farm machinery and farm repair parts that have been exempt from sales tax since July 2002.

Construction numbers were soft, falling 9.1 percent, and manufacturing numbers dropped 2.5 percent from the same quarter in 2002.

Of the 50 largest cities, the biggest percentage increases for the first quarter of 2003 were: Tioga, up 16.2 percent; Park River up 11.4 percent; West Fargo, up 5.1 percent; Cooperstown, up 3.6 percent; and Beulah, up 2.7 percent.

The biggest percentage first quarter decreases for the 50 largest cities, were in Northwood, down 45.7 percent; Washburn, down 41.3 percent; Stanley, down 40.7 percent; Lisbon, down 37.2 percent; and Beach down 34.5 percent.

Counties with the highest percentage increases were Oliver, up 4 percent; Slope, up 24.4 percent; Billings, up 20 percent; Sioux, up 9.2 percent; and Griggs, up 6.4 percent.

The counties with the biggest percentage decreases were Sheridan, down 56 percent; Nelson, down 36.1 percent; Grant, down 35.1 percent; Golden Valley, down 33.8 percent; and McHenry, down 33.7 percent.

Complete North Dakota Sales and Use Tax Statistical Reports from First Quarter 2003 can be accessed on the web at:http://www.nd.gov/tax/salesanduse/pubs/

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