Taxable sales in North Dakota have increased by nearly 10 percent for the second consecutive quarter.

A report released by North Dakota Tax Commissioner Ryan Rauschenberger Monday shows taxable sales and purchases for April, May and June were close to $5.15 billion, a 9.46 percent increase from the same months in 2017. That is $1 billion more than the first quarter, which showed taxable sales and purchases of nearly $4.1 billion, which itself was an increase of nearly 10 percent from the same time last year.

"This is the second consecutive quarter North Dakota taxable sales and purchases have increased by nearly 10 percent, and the fifth consecutive quarter that we've seen growth in this report," Rauschenberger said.

Of the 15 major sectors, nine reported growth when compared to taxable sales and purchases from last year. According to the report, the most notable gains came from the mining and oil extraction sector, which showed an increase of $208 million, a 43.31 percent increase; and the wholesale trade sector, which increased by $236 million, a 22.23 percent increase from 2017.

"There was strong growth in both the mining and oil extraction sector and the wholesale trade sector, two sectors associated with the oil industry," Rauschenberger explained. "The retail trade sector, the sector often thought of as a measure of economic activity, saw a meager increase. Unlike the oil boom of earlier this decade, this oil expansion does not involve as rapid of population or jobs growth, with limited impact on the retail trade sector to-date."

This differs from the first quarter report, where Rauschenberger noted that the increase appeared to be more retail-dominated, with oil activity playing "a significant part in the overall increase."

Of the six largest cities in North Dakota, only four reported increases, with Williston and Dickinson leading the pack. Dickinson showed a 13.27 percent increase over 2017, with Williston reporting over twice that with an increase of 29.27 percent. Statewide, Williams County reported an increase of 28.94 percent from last year's number.

Williston Mayor Howard Klug said that the report shows that positive things are happening in our area, and that the increase in taxable sales means the city will have more money for improvement projects in the future.

"We use that money to replace old pipes and old sewer lines and roads and those kinds of things," Klug explained. "So that's the main thing, that we can go in and get these projects done, and be in good shape for the next 50 or so years. It also shows that the oilfield is strong."

Klug added that with the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to collect sales tax from online retailers, it is anticipated that those increases will go up even more going into the next quarter. He said that the report shows overall positive economic growth not only in the state, but in Williston, where he noted an increase in new businesses within the city. He added that the city values its business community, and is committed to further economic development.

"That’s one of the things that we do. We're supporting these new businesses and new start-ups. We're making it easier for people to get on board and get their permits and those kinds of things," he said. "With the business that we're having, we see some close, we see some open, but mostly it's new businesses and new start-ups and people that want to get involved in Williston, and that's a really good thing."


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