May 27, 2009

County’s taxable sales up nearly 50%

By Neal A. Shipman
Farmer Editor

Fueled by a very strong energy development sector, McKenzie County and Watford City posted nearly a 50 percent growth in taxable sales and purchases during 2008 according to the figures released last week by the office of the North Dakota Tax Commissioner.
According to the recent report by North Dakota Tax Commissioner Cory Fong, McKenzie County’s taxable sales and purchases during calendar year 2008 totalled $46,970,551 compared to $31,536,367 during 2007, an increase of 48.94 percent.
Watford City’s taxable sales and purchases during 2008 were up 47.21 percent over 2007 sales increasing from $28,445,182 in 2007 to $41,874,016 in 2007.
Statewide, according to Fong, for 2008, taxable sales and purchases were over $12 billion, growing 21.2 percent compared to 2007.
“These reports reflect an upbeat economy that continues to resist the national economic woes,” said Fong. 
The overall annual growth of 21.2 percent was over five times the rate of inflation for 2008. The Consumer Price Index measurement of inflation for 2008 was 3.8 percent.
Wholesale trade showed the strongest overall growth in terms of dollars, increasing by more than $805 million from 2007 or 43.8 percent. 
“The wholesale trade sector is another sector we monitor to keep a finger on the pulse of our economy,” said Fong. “Based on the data provided in these reports, the wholesale trade sector grew, which suggests that suppliers continue to move products as demand on inventories remained strong.”
All fifteen industries reported growth for the year 2008. The largest percent growth was in the transportation and warehousing sector, which grew by 137.5 percent in 2008 compared to 2007. 
 “North Dakota’s agricultural producers are the backbone of our economy,” said Fong. “During 2008 strong harvests and healthy cattle markets bolstered our producers. In 2009, producers are dealing with the aftermath of spring storms and flooding on top of an uncertain national economy, persistent high input costs, and a slowdown in commodity prices, and we will continue to keep an eye on the impact these issues might have on our producers.” 
“The number of cities experiencing growth confirms that the growth is widespread throughout the state,” said Fong. “Large and small cities and counties are reaping the benefits of our diverse economic growth.”
 The largest four cities--Bismarck, Fargo, Grand Forks, and Minot--reported growth ranging from four percent in Grand Forks to 13.2 percent in Minot. These four cities increased taxable sales and purchases by $324 million over 2007. Of the 200 cities, Lignite led the growth of all cities with an increase of 997.7 percent growth over 2007. Belfield was next, increasing by 276.6 percent; Gladstone was up 138.6 percent, Tioga grew by 109.3 percent and Stanley was up 105.5 percent.
Cities reporting the steepest decline compared to 2007 include Starkweather, down 65.8 percent, Minnewaukan down 33.9 percent, Richardton down 32.1 percent, Burlington decreased 26.8 percent, and Center was down 20.8 percent.
 Burke County led all counties with increases in October, November, and December 2008, with a 570 percent growth over 2007. Williams County was next, increasing by 106.6 percent; Mountrail County was up 71 percent; Dunn County was up by 69.5 percent; and Bottineau County up by 58.5 percent.
The counties recording the sharpest decline were Oliver County with a drop of 33.2 percent; followed by Sheridan County down 17.6 percent; Golden Valley County down 16.3 percent; amd Morton County down 10.9 percent.