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Taxable sales slow down

Posted 10/07/09 (Wed)

By Neal A. Shipman
Farmer Editor

While statewide, North Dakota’s taxable sales and purchases slowed down in the second quarter of 2009, Watford City still continued to show good growth compared to the same three month period in 2008.
During the second quarter of 2009, McKenzie County’s taxable sales and purchases grew by 3.23 percent, while Watford City’s sales increased by 10.25 percent.
In the second quarter of 2009, the county’s taxable sales and purchases totalled $12,676,376 compared to $12,280,261 during the same three month period in 2008.
Watford City’s taxable sales and purchases grew from $10,650,639 during the months of April, May and June of 2008 to $11,742,334 during the same three month period in 2009.
According to North Dakota Tax Commissioner Cory Fong, statewide North Dakota’s taxable sales and purchases dropped 3.8 percent, or $118.9 million, compared to the same quarter in 2008.
“2008 was a record-setting year for taxable sales and purchases in North Dakota.  If we compare this report to a more typical year, such as 2007, it shows that consumer spending is on pace,” said Fong. 
Compared to the second quarter 2007, the 2009 report shows growth of 16.7 percent or $425.9 million.  Retail trade, the sector generally looked to as a measure of the economy, was down 1.6 percent during second quarter 2009 when compared to the same quarter in 2008.  Comparing retail trade to the second quarter 2007, the retail trade sector grew 8.1 percent.
“During the second quarter, nearly every county was experiencing flooding,” said Fong, “which meant many businesses shut down operations and consumers were not spending at the normal levels as they were focused on protecting their homes and businesses.”
Comparing second quarter 2009 to second quarter 2008, sectors reporting growth include: other services sector, which grew 18.6 percent; educational, health care, and social services sector grew 11.9 percent; information industries grew 6.3 percent; miscellaneous grew 2.6 percent; accommodation and food services grew two percent.  Sectors reporting a decline include: mining and oil extraction, which declined 19.7 percent; transportation and warehousing dropped 9.8 percent; wholesale trade dropped 9.4 percent; financial, insurance, real estate, rental and leasing dropped 8.4 percent; arts, entertainment, and recreation dropped 7.6 percent; construction dropped 3.8 percent; manufacturing dropped 3.6 percent; utilities dropped 2.2 percent; retail trade dropped 1.6 percent; and professional, scientific, technical, and management services dropped 1.2 percent.
“The farm industry is an important sector for North Dakota and one on which we tend to rely,” said Fong.  “In addition to dealing with the aftermath of spring storms and state-wide flooding, our farmers and ranchers continued to deal with elevated fertilizer and feed costs and a slowdown in commodity prices.  Again, if we remove the exaggerated highs of 2008, the ag industry tracks along with general consumer spending, of a more typical year, such as 2007.”
Of the 50 largest cities, the biggest percentage increases for second quarter of 2009 were: Garrison, up 27.3 percent; Stanley, up 24.2 percent; Cavalier, up 25.7 percent; Carrington, up 21.3 percent; and Cooperstown, up 20.4 percent.
The biggest percentage second quarter decreases for the 50 largest cities, were in Grafton, down 46 percent; Tioga, down 16.5 percent; Ashley, down 15 percent; Williston, down 14.6 percent; and Hettinger, down 10 percent.
Counties with the highest percentage increases were Logan, up 41.3 percent; Oliver, up 39.6 percent; Traill, up 27.9 percent; Nelson, up 26.2 percent; and Benson, up 21.5 percent.
The counties with the biggest percentage decreases were Renville, down 60.6 percent; Billings, down 37.5 percent; Walsh, down 33.3 percent; Burke, down 32.2 percent; and Slope, down 26.8 percent.