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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: Beth Boustead, Public Information Specialist, 701.328.3039
Thursday, November 14, 2008 Kathryn Strombeck, Research Analyst, 701.328.3402

Fong: 2nd Quarter Taxable Sales and Purchases Grow at Solid Pace

BISMARCK, N.D. – Tax Commissioner Cory Fong announced today that during April, May, and June retail sales grew to $1.125 billion, driving the combined growth of all sectors to a 21 percent growth in total taxable sales and purchases compared to the same months in 2007.

This is another solid report and shows strength in our diverse economy,” said Fong. “Even with the high energy prices and slowing housing markets during the second quarter, consumer confidence remained strong.”

Fourteen of the fifteen major sectors reported gains when compared to the same time one year ago. Wholesale trade grew by 46 percent, representing the largest dollar increase of $217 million; while the mining and oil extraction sector reported the largest percentage of growth of the major sectors, rising by 65 percent when compared to the second quarter of 2007.

Other sectors showing gains include: the financial, insurance, real estate, rental and leasing increased by 47.9 percent; utilities grew 39 percent; miscellaneous up by 27.1 percent; manufacturing up 21.9 percent; construction grew by 20 percent; arts, entertainment, and recreation was up by 14.7 percent; accommodation and food services increased by 12.8 percent; retail trade was up 9.9 percent; other services grew 7.3 percent; professional, scientific, technical, and management services was up 3.8 percent; transportation and warehousing increased by 3 percent; and information industries grew by 2.3 percent. Education, health care, and social services was the only sector to report a decrease, declining by 6.7 percent.

Fong was cautious about the outlook for the remainder of the year, and referenced record oil prices and strong agricultural prices during the first six months of the year.

“While oil producers, growers, and retailers alike had a strong spring and summer, all sectors may have some difficult times ahead,” cautioned Fong.

Fong expressed concern that the recent economic woes affecting the nation and the falling commodity prices, especially oil prices that have dropped by over fifty percent from their summer peak, may influence consumer spending as we enter the holiday shopping season.

“Even though North Dakota has shown some immunity to the national economic crises, certain issues, such as the availability of credit, the value of citizens’ stock and retirement portfolios, as well as an overall wavering in consumer confidence, may put a drag on North Dakota’s economy in the coming months,” said Fong. “It is important to note that the growing diversity of the state’s economy, the strength of our local banks, and the strong North Dakota work ethic will all work well towards minimizing any fallout from the national economic situation.”

Of the 50 largest cities, the biggest percentage increases for the second quarter of 2008 include Stanley, up 154.8 percent; Grafton, up 113.6 percent; Tioga, up 111.9 percent; Williston, up 79.8 percent; and New Town, up 78.4 percent.

The biggest percentage second quarter decreases for the 50 largest cities were Larimore, down 19.4 percent; Cavalier, down 7.6 percent; and Linton, down 1.8 percent.

Counties with the highest percentage increases were Burke, up 285.6 percent; Renville, up 121.2 percent; Mountrail, up 117.5 percent; Walsh, up 89.2 percent; and Williams up 82.6 percent.

The counties with the biggest percentage decreases were Emmons, down 15.9 percent; Rolette, down 3.1 percent; and Oliver down 1.1 percent.

Complete North Dakota Sales and Use Tax Statistical Reports from Second Quarter 2008 can be accessed on the web at: www.nd.gov/tax/salesanduse/pubs/.

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