December 28, 2011

Watford’s taxable sales top $33 million in third quarter of 2011

By Neal A. Shipman
Farmer Editor

If there was any doubt that the boom in the oil patch is driving the state’s economy, the most recent data from the North Dakota State Tax Dept. should lay those doubts to rest.
Leading the state in the percentage of increase in taxable sales in the third quarter of 2011 were five cities in northwestern North Dakota.
Tioga posted the largest gain with a 137.8 percent increase, followed by Stanley, up 127.5; New Town, up 107.9 percent; Williston, up 90.5 percent; and Watford City, up 62.6 percent.
Williston’s sales of $721,888,591 during the third quarter of the year, putting it as the leading city in the state topping Fargo’s sales of $654,506,169.
Watford City, which saw it’s taxable sales and purchase increase by  74 percent and 67 percent in the first two quarters of the year, posted a 62.6 percent increase during the third quarter of 2011.
Watford City’s taxable sales and purchases during the months of July, August and September  were $33,096,540 compared to $20,348,092 in 2010, while county-wide sales totaled $38,914,723 in the third quarter compared to $22,547,696 one year ago.
Watford City’s taxable sales now are the 13th largest of the state’s largest 50 cities, moving up one spot from the second quarter figures. while the country ranks 11th in total sales of the state’s 53 counties.
Statewide, according to Tax Commissioner Cory Fong taxable sales and purchases made during July, August, and September 2011 were $5.476 billion, up $1.509 billion or 38.6 percent compared to the third quarter 2010.
“This is a very strong report especially in the face of historic flooding that occurred this spring and summer,” said Fong. “In addition, while other states contend with stagnant economies and persistent deficits, North Dakota is once again reporting growth across most industry sectors as both consumer and business spending gained momentum.”
Retail trade, the sector often looked to as a measurement of consumer confidence, continued to grow, reporting a gain of 17.2 percent compared to the same period for 2010.
“North Dakota’s wholesale trade and retail trade were strong performers in the third quarter, which, when coupled with our low unemployment rate, indicate that consumer confidence remained strong heading into the fourth quarter,” said Fong.  
Twelve of 15 industries reported growth during the third quarter of 2011.
“Early reports indicate that the holiday shopping season got off to a great start,” said Fong. “A steady job market along with North Dakota’s strong economy has encouraged consumers to be in a spending mood this Christmas season.”
Of the 50 largest cities, the largest percentage increases for third quarter of 2011 were:  Tioga, up 137.8 percent; Stanley, up 127.5 percent; New Town, up 107.9 percent; Williston, up 90.5 percent; Watford City, up 62.6 percent.
The largest percentage third quarter decreases for the 50 largest cities, were in Kenmare, down 30 percent; Grafton, down 8.5 percent; Wahpeton, down 6.4 percent; and Lincoln, down 1.9 percent.  
Counties with the largest percentage increases were Burke, up 122.1 percent; Mountrail, up 107.4 percent; Williams, up 100 percent; McKenzie, up 72.6 percent; and Dunn, up 68.3 percent.
The counties with the largest percentage decreases were Kidder, down 30.1 percent; Sheridan, down 15.6 percent; Hettinger, down 12.7 percent; and Renville, down 12.4 percent.