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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: Kathryn Strombeck, Research Analyst, 701.328.3402
Tuesday, July 13, 2010 Beth Boustead, Public Information Specialist, 701.328.3039

Fong: First Quarter Taxable Sales and Purchases Report Moderate Growth

BISMARCK, N.D. – Tax Commissioner Cory Fong announced today that North Dakota’s economy expanded at a moderate pace during the first quarter of 2010, which includes January, February, and March. According to the economic report, North Dakota’s first quarter total taxable sales and purchases were $2.607 billion, up $67 million from the first quarter 2009, for an increase of 2.65 percent.

“This is a good report, highlighting the fact that North Dakota’s economy strengthened compared to the same quarter in 2009,” said Fong. “It is very encouraging, especially since it came during a time of continued uncertainty and weakening in most other states’ economies.”

The construction sector showed the most growth, percentage-wise, rising 16 percent compared to the same quarter 2009. The retail trade sector, the sector most often looked to as a measure of consumer confidence, grew the most in dollars, growing $71 million. Other sectors showing gains include: professional, scientific, technical, and management services, up 13 percent; miscellaneous, up 12.6 percent; wholesale trade, up 10.8 percent; other services, up 9.6 percent; financial, insurance, real estate, rental and leasing, up 9.5 percent; retail trade, up 8.3 percent; accommodation and food services, up 5.7 percent; arts, entertainment and recreation, up 5.4 percent; information industries, up 2.9 percent; and mining and oil extraction, up 0.9 percent.

Fong said, “North Dakota has shown a resistance to the recession which was due in part to stability in several sectors, such as construction, retail and wholesale trade, as well as the expansion of oil drilling activity.”

Four sectors reported declines, including: utilities, down 71 percent; transportation and warehousing, down 20.3 percent; manufacturing, down 3.5 percent; and educational, health care, and social services down 1.3 percent.

“In the utilities sector, the main contributing factor to the declining numbers is the exemption from sales tax for natural gas used in heating and industrial purposes,” said Fong. “The effect of this exemption affects a number of sectors.”

Effective July 1, 2009, all natural gas sold in the state became exempt from sales and use taxes. This change in the taxable base is the primary factor behind the drop in sales from the first quarter of 2009, when natural gas was subject to a one percent statewide sales tax.

“Had natural gas remained taxable at one percent,” said Fong, “the rate of overall growth this quarter would have been nearly seven percent.”

Of the 50 largest cities, the biggest percentage increases for the first quarter of 2010 were Bowman, 64.8 percent; Washburn, up 36.3 percent; Langdon, up 37.7 percent; Lincoln, up by 33.3 percent; and Stanley, up 33 percent.

The biggest percentage first quarter decreases for the 50 largest cities were Northwood, down 26.5 percent; Crosby, down 15.1 percent; Linton, down 9.5 percent; Kenmare, down 3.8 percent; and Walhalla, down 0.8 percent.

Counties with the highest percentage increases were Renville, up 86.5 percent; Billings, up 74.8 percent; Grant, up 72.6 percent; Bowman, up 62.9 percent; and Cavalier, up 37.3 percent.

The counties with the biggest percentage decreases were Burke, down 31.9 percent; Slope, down 25 percent, Benson, down 17.1 percent; Divide, down 13.5 percent; and McHenry, down 10 percent.

The complete North Dakota Sales and Use Tax Statistical Report for First Quarter 2010 is available on the Tax Department’s web site at: www.nd.gov/tax/.

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  • 2010 Fourth Quarter Sales and Use Tax Statistical Report - (34kb pdf)
  • Graph: North Dakota Taxable Sales & Purchases by Industry 1st Quarter 2010 - (448kb pdf)
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