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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, Supervisor, Research & Communication, 701.328.3402
Thursday, July 18, 2012 Beth Boustead, Public Information Specialist, Office of State Tax Commissioner, 701.328.3039

Fong: Strong Economic Activity Reported for First Quarter 2012

BISMARCK, N.D. Tax Commissioner Cory Fong released figures today showing that 2012 got off to a strong start with robust economic activity. Today's report shows North Dakota's total taxable sales and purchases during January, February, and March of 2012 were about $5.3 billion, an increase of 52 percent compared to the first quarter of 2011.

"North Dakota is experiencing an unprecedented expansion of its economy right now," said Fong. "And, while oil development is contributing in large part toward our economic expansion, this report shows strength across all of our state's key economic drivers. Every sector, with the exception of one, reports growth in taxable sales and purchases."

Fourteen 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 27 percent, representing an increase of $284 million. The construction sector had the largest percentage of growth, increasing 113 percent when compared to the first quarter of 2011.

Fong said, "Consumer confidence remains strong in North Dakota. We have a pro-business climate and a diversified economy that work together to support business development and growth. All but one sector grew in the first quarter, including double- or triple-digit growth in construction, mining and oil, transportation and warehousing, wholesale trade and manufacturing."

Industry sector gains include: the mining and oil extraction sector was up by 99 percent; transportation and warehousing, up 98 percent; wholesale trade, up 66 percent; manufacturing, up 62 percent; financial, insurance, real estate, rental and leasing up 48 percent; utilities, up 38 percent; arts, entertainment and recreation up 38 percent; other services, up 37 percent; retail trade up 27 percent; accommodation and food services, up 27 percent; information industries, up 12 percent; professional, scientific, technical, and management services, up 11 percent; and miscellaneous, up 10 percent.

"Agriculture is a significant driver for the state's economy," said Fong. "Even though our producers have been dealing with high input costs, the mild weather this spring allowed them to get into the field to plant and strong prices are encouraging. We will keep an eye on the agriculture industry and the impact that any severe weather or drop in prices might have this fall."

One sector reported a decrease for the first quarter 2012 compared to the first quarter 2011. The educational, health care, and social services sector was down 15 percent.

This report is good news for North Dakota's cities. Out of the 50 largest cities, 40 showed double- or triple-digit growth.

"We are growing at a level beyond what we could have expected," said Fong. "And while the rapid growth creates challenges for the state and communities, it also creates opportunities. We are seeing new business development, expansion of existing businesses, and wages and income are on the rise."

Of the 50 largest cities, the biggest percentage increases for the first quarter of 2012 were New Town, up 234 percent; Tioga, up 132 percent; Watford City, up 89 percent; Kenmare, up 83 percent; and Crosby, up 78 percent.

The highest percentage first quarter decreases for the 50 largest cities, were in Larimore, down 24 percent; Wishek, down 21 percent; Mayville, down 6 percent; and Cooperstown, down 2 percent.

Counties with the highest percentage increases were Billings, up 239 percent; McKenzie, up 93 percent; Williams, up 90 percent; Mountrail, up 76 percent; and Stark, up 71 percent.

The counties with the largest percentage decreases were Burke, down 15 percent; McIntosh, down 15 percent; Grant, down 11 percent; Logan, down 10 percent; and Emmons, down 5 percent.

The North Dakota Sales and Use Tax Statistical Report provides statistics on the taxable sales and purchases made during the first three months of 2012. The report does not reflect sales tax collections.

The complete North Dakota Sales and Use Tax Statistical Report for First Quarter 2012 is available on the Tax Department's web site at: www.nd.gov/tax

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