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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: Kathy Strombeck, Research Analyst, 701.328.3402
Wednesday, July 9, 2008 Beth Boustead, Public Information Specialist, 701.328.3039

First Quarter 2008 Economic Activity Continues Strong

BISMARCK, N.D. – Tax Commissioner Cory Fong released a key economic report today showing that 2008 got off to a great start with strong economic activity. Today’s report shows North Dakota’s total taxable sales and purchases during January, February, and March of 2008 were just over $2.4 billion, an increase of 12.9 percent compared to the first quarter of 2007.

“We are pleased at the level of growth for this first quarter,” said Fong. “It is a great report, and it suggests that the economic upward momentum of 2007 continued into the first quarter of 2008.”

Twelve of the fifteen major sectors reported gains when compared to the same time one year ago. Wholesale trade grew by 28.9 percent, representing the largest dollar increase of $102 million; while the mining and oil extraction sector reported the largest percentage of growth of the major sectors, rising by 59.9 percent when compared to the first quarter of 2007.

“This report marks the 20th consecutive quarter of growth for North Dakota’s economy going back to the middle of 2003,” said Fong. “Even with high gas prices, concerns of a credit crunch, and national reports of a slumping housing market, North Dakota’s consumer spending remained strong.”

Other sectors showing gains include: the miscellaneous sector was up by 61 percent; financial, insurance, real estate, rental and leasing sector grew by 25.9 percent; transportation and warehousing up 25.7 percent; manufacturing sector rose by 19.9 percent; utilities grew by 16.5 percent; professional, scientific, technical, and management services grew by 11.6 percent; information industries rose 10 percent; accommodation and food services grew 8.9 percent; retail trade rose 5.6 percent; and other services increased 3.6 percent.

Fong indicated caution with the agricultural and tourism industries. “The high fuel costs will have an effect on our agricultural producers, which would impact other core sectors of our economy,” said Fong. “And there are some early signs that increased fuel costs could affect our tourism industry as vacationers may tend to stay closer to home.” The impact on agricultural producers and tourism could begin to show up in the second quarter.

Three sectors reported declines. The construction sector dropped by 17.6 percent; arts, entertainment and recreation sector dropped by 13.2 percent; and the educational, health care, and social services sector dropped by less than one percent.

Of the 50 largest cities, the biggest percentage increases for the first quarter of 2008 were Stanley, up 92.8 percent; New Town, up 76.3 percent; Bottineau, up 65.3 percent; Ashley, up 61.4 percent; and Hillsboro up 56.8 percent.

Of the 50 largest cities, only one reported a decline for the first quarter of 2008. Cavalier dropped 2.7 percent compared to the same time, 2007.

Counties with the highest percentage increases were Burke, up 165.9 percent; Mountrail, up 91.5 percent; LaMoure, up 67 percent; Bottineau, up 59.5 percent; and Nelson, up 57.9 percent.

Oliver and Sioux Counties were the only counties reporting a decrease. Oliver County dropped 26 percent and Sioux County was down 18 percent compared to first quarter 2007.

The complete North Dakota Sales and Use Tax Statistical Report for First Quarter 2008 is available on the Tax Department’s web site at: 2008 1st Quarter Sales & Use Tax Statistical Report

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