May 6, 2014

Watford’s sales top $197 million in 2013

By Neal A. Shipman
Farmer Editor

While North Dakota’s taxable sales and purchases slowed during the fourth quarter of 2013, and only grew by a half a percent from 2012 to 2013, the same level of economic slowdown was not apparent in Watford City and McKenzie County, which is in the heart of the Bakken energy boom in western North Dakota.
According to Tax Commissioner Ryan Rauschenberger, during the fourth quarter of 2013, Watford City’s taxable sales and purchases increased 6.71 percent from $47,475,983 to $50,661,076 in October, November and December, while McKenzie County’s sales climbed 11.63 percent, from $57,017,771 to $63,650,646 during the same three-month period.
For the calendar year of 2013, Watford City’s taxable sales and purchases grew to $197,294,954, a 5.87 percent increase from 2012 to 2013, making it the 11th largest city in the state in terms of sales, while the county’s sales increased 10.79 percent from $218,948,216 to $242,569,236, making it the 10th largest county in the state in terms of sales.
North Dakota taxable sales and purchases in the fourth quarter 2013, which includes the months of October, November, and December, were $6.755 billion, a slight decrease of $281 million or 0.04 percent, compared to the fourth quarter 2012. For calendar year 2013, taxable sales and purchases were more than $25.464 billion, growing by 0.5 percent compared to 2012.
“The Sales and Use Tax Statisti2013 were utilities, up 15.1 percent; and the financial, insurance, real estate, rental and leasing industry sector, which grew by 12.1 percent.  
“These industry increases reflect the demand in taxable sales and purchases consistent with North Dakota’s growing population and strong economy,” said Rauschenberger.
Four industry sectors reported decreases over 2012, with the largest being in transportation and warehousing, which was down 26.7 percent; and mining and oil extraction, down 14.8 percent.
Rauschenberger said the decreases in taxable sales and purchases reported by these industries do not suggest they are not thriving.
“They show that these industries are moving beyond a period of intensive Bakken-related buildup and rapid expansion and are leveling off to a more sustainable trajectory,” he said.
The annual report includes statistics for the largest 200 cities in the state, of which 120 cities reported increases and 80 reported decreases compared to 2012.
Total taxable sales and purchases in the state’s four major population centers, Bismarck, Fargo, Grand Forks, and Minot, reported growth for 2013 in three cities. Bismarck was up 2.6 percent; Fargo, 2.0 percent; and Grand Forks was 1.7 percent. Minot reported a 4.7 percent decrease, reflecting a post-flood leveling off. These four cities reported taxable sales and purchases of $7.334 billion, an increase of $37 million over 2012.
Of the 200 cities, Surrey led the growth of all cities with an increase of 114.3 percent over 2012. Buffalo was next, increasing by 113.8 percent; Lansford was up 108.1 percent; Christine was up 88.7 percent; and Alexander was up 66.6 percent.
Cities reporting the sharpest decline compared to 2012 include Gladstone, down 87.6 percent; Glenburn, down 58.1 percent; Sheyenne, down 42.3 percent; and Halliday, down 39.7 percent.
Included in the annual report are statistics for each of the state’s 53 counties.
Grant County led all counties in 2013 increases in taxable sales and purchases, with a 34 percent growth over 2012. McHenry County was next, increasing by 17.6 percent; Divide County was up 16.0 percent; and Sargent County was up 14.9 percent.
The counties recording the sharpest decline were Burke County and Sioux County, both with a drop of 21.0 percent, Cavalier County was down 13.2 percent, and Billings County was down 11.6 percent.