The tax commissioner’s office reported Thursday, July 18, that North Dakota’s taxable sales and purchases totaled $4.453 billion in the first quarter of 2019 compared to the same period of 2019, which represents an increase of nearly 10%.
“It was no surprise to see a significant increase in this report with oil production hitting an all-time record of 1.4 million barrels per day in January,” Tax Commissioner Ryan Rauschenberger said in a release.
Rauschenberger said that the the growth was not unexpected and that North Dakota is on track to meet the projected increase for this year.
However, Grand Forks saw a taxable sales and purchases decrease of 1.86%.
“Grand Forks had a smaller decrease this quarter than previous quarters,” Rauschenberger said. “After a down year, we usually see it level off.”
Rauschenberger said he was not concerned about Grand Forks because it seemed to be in a leveling-off period.
Grand Forks did not see growth because of the lack of oil in the eastern part of North Dakota and because of the strength of the American dollar.
Mining and oil extraction taxable sales and purchases increased by 123.8 million, a 21.65% increase, and most cities with a significant increase were in the western part of the state.
Since the American dollar is strong, fewer Canadians have been coming down to North Dakota — and Grand Forks, specifically — to shop. This is the likely reason for the decrease, Rauschenberger said.
Thirteen of the 15 major sectors, including wholesale trade and retail, reported gains compared to this quarter last year. The retail trade sector showed an increase of 5.39% after several years where the sector declined, according to Rauschenberger.
Rauschenberger attributes the growth in retail primarily to online sales. While Rauschenberger said this increase makes him optimistic, it does not come without its downsides.
“If more money is being spent online, it’s not going to stay inside the state,” Rauschenberger said.