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County’s taxable sales up nearly 50% in 2010

Posted 5/11/11 (Wed)

By Neal A. Shipman
Farmer Editor

Continued energy development fueled Watford City’s and McKenzie County’s economic growth in 2010 as taxable sales and purchases in McKenzie County and Watford City grew by nearly 50 percent during the 2010 calendar year  according to the figures released 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 2010 totalled $78,060,687 compared to $52,412,321 during 2009, an increase of 48.94 percent.
Watford City’s taxable sales and purchases during 2010 were up 49.08 percent over 2009 sales increasing from $47,653,892 in 2009 to $71,041,443 in 2010.
According to North Dakota Tax Commissioner Cory Fong, during the fourth quarter 2010, which included the months of October, November, and December, North Dakota’s taxable sales and purchases were $4.134 billion, up $983 million or 31.2 percent compared to the fourth quarter 2009. For calendar year 2010, taxable sales and purchases were over $14 billion, growing 20.2 percent compared to 2009.
“This report shows that 2010 was another record-setting year for North Dakota,” said Fong. “North Dakota’s economy continues to flourish – our businesses are optimistic, oil-related activity is strong, our agriculture sector is healthy, manufacturing is upbeat, new housing starts are up, and our real estate market is robust.” 
Wholesale trade showed the strongest overall growth in dollars, increasing by more than $956 million from 2009 or 39.6 percent. 
“A strong wholesale trade sector suggests that there was steady consumer demand on inventories and our suppliers continued to move products,” said Fong. “This sector indicates growth in two important industries – agriculture and oil production.”
Retail trade, the largest sector in terms of dollars, grew by 8.1 percent when comparing 2010 to 2009, or five times the rate of inflation. The Consumer Price Index measurement of inflation for 2010 was 1.6 percent.
“Retail trade is the sector often looked to as a measurement of the consumer’s pocketbook,” said Fong.  “The growth in retail trade confirms that North Dakota consumer confidence remained strong throughout last year.”
Thirteen of fifteen industries reported growth for the year 2010.  The largest percent growth was in the mining and oil extraction sector, which grew by 110.8 percent in 2010 compared to 2009. 
“Agriculture continues to be the backbone of North Dakota’s economy,” said Fong. “2010 was a good year for our agricultural producers who experienced ample harvests, strong crop and livestock prices, along with surging land values. While we anticipate robust market conditions in the future, we realize that rising input costs, due primarily to increasing fuel prices, could have a negative impact on our producers.”
The four major population centers - Bismarck, Fargo, Grand Forks, and Minot - reported growth ranging from 3.9 percent in Grand Forks to 18.2 percent in Minot. These four cities increased taxable sales and purchases by $5.673 billion over 2009.
Of the 200 cities, Plaza led the growth of all cities with an increase of 284.3 percent growth over 2009.  Tower City was next, increasing by 237.1 percent; Gladstone was up 154.8 percent, Tioga grew by 125 percent and Lignite was up 104.3 percent. 
Cities reporting the sharpest decline compared to 2009 include Edmore, down 30.3 percent, Halliday down 26.5 percent, Starkweather down 23.3 percent, Sherwood decreased 22.3 percent, and Stanton was down 20.6 percent.
Included in the fourth quarter report are statistics for each of the state’s 53 counties.
Burke County led all counties with increases in October, November, and December 2010, with a 241.8 percent growth over 2009. Williams County was next, increasing by 128.8 percent; Dunn County was up 90.5 percent; Mountrail County was up by 84.2 percent; and Billings County up by 64.1 percent.
The counties recording the sharpest decline were Golden Valley County with a drop of 11.2 percent; followed by Steele County down 7.9 percent; Nelson County down 1.7 percent; Emmons County was relatively flat, dropping 0.9 percent; along with Griggs County dipping 0.8 percent.