|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE||Contact: Kathy Strombeck, Supervisor, Research & Education, 701.328.3402|
|Wednesday, July 20, 2011||Beth Boustead, Public Information Specialist, 701.328.3039|
Fong: Strong Economic Activity Reported for First Quarter 2011
BISMARCK, N.D. – Tax Commissioner Cory Fong released figures today showing that 2011 got off to a healthy start with robust economic activity. Today's report shows North Dakota's total taxable sales and purchases during January, February, and March of 2011 were nearly $3.5 billion, an increase of 33.6 percent compared to the first quarter of 2010.
"While we anticipated the strong economic momentum to continue into this year, we are pleasantly surprised at this robust level," said Fong. "This report is very good news for North Dakota."
Thirteen of the fifteen major sectors reported gains when compared to the same time one year ago. Retail trade, the sector often looked to as a measurement of consumer confidence, grew by 8.8 percent, representing an increase of $80 million; while the financial, insurance, real estate, rental & leasing sector had the largest percentage of growth, rising by 139.3 percent when compared to the first quarter of 2010.
"Even with the ongoing severe weather-related conditions during the first quarter, coupled with rising prices at the pump," said Fong. "North Dakota's consumer confidence in our economy remained strong."
Other sectors showing gains include: the mining and oil extraction sector was up by 128.4 percent; miscellaneous grew by 92.3 percent; wholesale trade grew by 62.5 percent; transportation and warehousing, grew by 62.3 percent; other services sector, up by 29.1 percent; manufacturing, up 17.9 percent; accommodation and food services, up 10.5 percent; construction, increased by 9.5 percent; retail trade sector, grew by 8.6 percent; arts, entertainment and recreation was up by 7.8 percent; professional, scientific, technical, and management services sector, up by 7.6 percent; and educational, health care, and social services grew by 6.9 percent.
Two sectors reported decreases for the first quarter 2011 compared to the first quarter 2010. The utilities sector was down 31.1 percent and the information industries sector was down by 7.6 percent.
Fong cautioned that with the statewide flooding and other weather-related conditions impacting individuals, businesses, and agricultural producers, a possible slowdown may begin to show up in the second and third quarters.
"The current conditions for our citizens, businesses, as well as our farmers and ranchers across the state, will certainly impact consumer buying habits," said Fong. "Our agricultural producers struggled to get crops in this year due to the wet conditions and a high percentage of acres were not able to be planted." Fong added, "Because agriculture is still our state's largest industry, a downturn for our producers will affect the other core sectors of our economy as they will not have the necessary resources available to spend on farm inputs and personal expenditures."
Of the 50 largest cities, the biggest percentage increases for the first quarter of 2011 were Tioga, up 159.2 percent; Williston, up 106.8 percent; Stanley, up 106.4 percent; New Town, up 65.5 percent; and Crosby, up 59.3 percent.
The biggest percentage first quarter decreases for the 50 largest cities, were in Beach, down 22.6 percent; Oakes, down 18.9 percent; Ashley, down 17.2 percent; Kenmare, down 4.3 percent; and Walhalla, down 4.3 percent.
Counties with the highest percentage increases were Williams, up 114.7 percent; Burke, up 114 percent; Billings, up 105.6 percent; Mountrail, up 104.3 percent; and Divide, up 78.8 percent.
The counties with the biggest percentage decreases were Golden Valley, down 19.6 percent; Logan, down 18.5 percent; Dickey, down 13 percent; Towner, down 7.1 percent; and Steele, down 6.7 percent.
The complete North Dakota Sales and Use Tax Statistical Report for First Quarter 2011 is available on the Tax Department's web site at: www.nd.gov/tax/
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