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Watford sales slump in third quarter of 2015

Posted 1/12/16 (Tue)

By Neal A. Shipman
Farmer Editor

The impact of the dramatic drop in oil prices in 2015 is reverberating across North Dakota. And the decline of oil prices from a high of $100 per barrel in 2014 to lows in the $30 per barrel range isn’t just impacting the oil-producing counties in western North Dakota.
According to the North Dakota Tax Department, taxable sales and purchases in North Dakota fell 25 percent in the third quarter of 2015 when compared to the same three-month period in 2014.
Statewide, taxable sales and purchases totaled $5.763 billion for July, August and September of 2015, compared to $7.681 billion over those months in 2014.
“Although taxable sales and purchases for the third quarter are down when compared with 2014, viewing it with a longer-term perspective still shows an increase,” stated Ryan Rauschenberger, North Dakota tax commissioner. “Taxable sales and purchases for the third quarter have increased more than 31 percent since 2010.”
Taxable sales and purchases for the third quarter of 2010 totaled 3.967 billion.
“During the third quarter of 2015, North Dakota continued to feel the effects of low commodity prices, which negatively impacted both the agriculture and energy industries,” Rauschenberger said. “The decrease in spending statewide is a direct outcome.”
Of North Dakota’s 53 counties, only 10 counties showed a positive gain in taxable sales during the third quarter of 2015 when compared to 2014 figures.
Five of the 15 major industry sectors reported taxable sales and purchases gains when compared to the third quarter a year ago. The most notable increase was in the utilities sector, which had an increase of 36.31 percent, while the most notable decline was in the mining and oil extraction sector, which had a decrease of 52.79 percent.
As the state’s leader in oil and gas production, Watford City’s and McKenzie County’s taxable sales and purchases took a big hit in the third quarter of 2015 when compared to 2014.
During the third quarter of 2015,  Watford City’s sales fell from $84,849,672 to $53,112,359, a 37.40 percent decline, from the same quarter one year ago.
McKenzie County’s taxable sales decline mirrored that of its largest city showing a decline of 36.40 percent, with sales falling from $102,349,421 in the third quarter of 2014 to $65,098,895 in 2015.
The decline took Watford City and McKenzie County’s taxable sales back to nearly the same levels of 2013. In the third quarter of 2013, Watford City had sales of $55,501,358, while county sales were $68,885,477.
Of the 50 largest cities in North Dakota, the highest percent increases for the third quarter of 2015 (compared to the third quarter of 2014) were Cavalier, 60.48 percent; Walhalla, 38.39 percent; Casselton, 17.41; Lincoln, 13.17 percent; and Larimore, 13.03 percent.
Counties with the highest percent increases were Pembina County, 39.51 percent; Sargent County, 22.97 percent; McHenry County, 22.84 percent; Kidder County, 16.4 percent; and Sheridan County, 9.68 percent.