October 5, 2011

City’s sales top $28 million in second quarter

By Neal A. Shipman
Farmer Editor

In yet another positive indication that Watford City’s and McKenzie County’s economy is booming, the latest figures released by the North Dakota Tax Dept. shows that both the city and the county’s taxable sales grew by over 64 percent in the second quarter of 2011.
Following a 72 percent increase in sales during the first quarter of the year, Watford City’s taxable sales and purchases increased 66.94 percent in the second quarter of 2011. The county has seen a similar growth in sales figures so far in 2011 with the first quarter sales jumping 74 percent, while second quarter sales were up 64.28 percent over the previous year.
Watford City’s taxable sales and purchases during the months of April, May and June of 2011 were $28,680,665 compared to $17,179,919 in 2010, while county-wide sales totaled $31,650,043 in the second quarter compared to $19,265,859 one year ago.
Watford City’s taxable sales now are the 14th largest of the state’s largest 50  cities, while the county ranks 11th in total sales of the state’s 53 counties.
Statewide, according to Tax Commissioner Cory Fong during the second quarter of the year,  retail sales grew to $4.5 billion, driving a combined growth of over $1 billion for all 15 industry sectors for a 32 percent growth in total taxable sales and purchases compared to the same months in 2010. 
“North Dakota experienced a remarkable second quarter for taxable sales and purchases,” said Fong. “Even with the onset of statewide historic flooding during the second quarter, North Dakota’s economy continued to grow and consumer confidence remained strong, bucking the national trend of lackluster consumer spending.”
Twelve of the 15 major sectors reported gains when compared to the same time one year ago. The wholesale trade sector grew by 51.1 percent, representing the largest dollar increase of $410 million; while the financial, insurance, real estate, rental and leasing sector reported the largest percentage of growth of the major sectors, rising by 116.4 percent when compared to the second quarter of 2010. 
“North Dakota remains in a healthy growth cycle. We are the bright spot in the nation in terms of economic growth coupled with the nation’s lowest unemployment rate and strong building sector,” said Fong. “We are cautiously looking ahead to the third and fourth quarter reports which will more accurately reflect the effect of the statewide flooding and the impact of excessive moisture on our farmers and ranchers.”
Of the 50 largest cities, the biggest percentage increases for the second quarter of 2011 include Stanley, up 114.1 percent; Tioga, up 106.1 percent; Williston, up 75.2 percent; Crosby, up 68.1 percent; and Watford City, up 66.9 percent.
Of the 50 largest cities, only two reported second quarter decreases – Cavalier, down 18.3 percent; and Larimore, down 11.2 percent.
Counties with the highest percentage increases were Sioux, up 410.8 percent; Mountrail, up 109.2 percent; Burke, up 88.7 percent; Williams, up 81.6 percent; and McKenzie, up 64.3 percent.
The counties with the biggest percentage decreases were Steele, down 10.7 percent; and Pembina, down 2 percent.