From State Tax Commissioner Cory Fong’s office:
BISMARCK, N.D. – Tax Commissioner Cory Fong today released two key reports showing record growth in taxable sales and purchases. During the fourth quarter 2011, which includes the months of October, November, and December, North Dakota’s taxable sales and purchases were $6.155 billion, up $2.014 billion or 48.6 percent compared to the fourth quarter 2010. For calendar year 2011, taxable sales and purchases were over $19 billion, growing 39 percent compared to 2010.
“During 2011, North Dakota’s economy continued to expand with statewide growth reported in all industry sectors except one,” said Fong.
Retail trade, the largest sector in terms of dollars, grew by 14.4 percent when comparing 2011 to 2010, or more than four times the rate of inflation. The Consumer Price Index measurement of inflation for 2011 was 3.2 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.”
Fourteen of fifteen industries reported growth for the year 2011. Mining and oil extraction was up by 98.4 percent; financial, insurance, real estate, rental and leasing was up by 95.4 percent; transportation and warehousing, up by 83.1 percent; wholesale trade, increased by 50 percent; construction grew by 42.7 percent; manufacturing was up 39.7 percent; accommodation and food services, up by 15.5 percent; retail trade, increased 14.4 percent; professional, scientific, technical, and management services, up 5.3 percent; arts, entertainment, and recreation was up 5 percent; utilities was up 1.5 percent; information industries, was up 1.4 percent, other services, up 34.4 percent; and miscellaneous was up 101.4 percent.
The only sector reporting a decline was the educational, health care, and social services sector, which declined 5.4 percent.
The 2011 annual report is embedded below, and it contains some interesting data.
For instance, while it’s fashionable for the state’s politicians to try and downplay the impact of the oil boom on the state in order to give credit to their statewide economic development policies, the sales tax numbers tell a different story. Sales and purchases grew 10.57% and 8.16% in Fargo and Grand Forks, respectively. Devils Lake saw 7.7% growth, and Jamestown was at 15.66%.
Closer to the oil patch, Bismarck saw 18.78% growth. Among cities actually in the oil patch: Minot saw 43.74% growth, Williston saw 81.95% growth, Watford City saw 67.35% growth and Dickinson saw 55.94% growth.
Leading all cities in the state was tiny Ray, going from $4.3 million in taxable sales to $32.1 million, a whopping 642% increase.
As one last comparison, the city of Williston’s taxable sales and purchases ($2,521,286,467) were more than double those in Grand Forks ($1,078,995,179), and came in at about $100 million more than Fargo’s ($2,422,391,342).
Without the oil boom in the west, North Dakota would be a middle-of-the-pack state in terms of economic growth nationally. But please, let’s keep talking about how the universities in Grand Forks and Fargo are the “economic engines” of the state.