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North Dakota 1Q taxable sales, purchases down, but some cities and counties see growth

North Dakota 1Q taxable sales, purchases down, but some cities and counties see growth

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North Dakota's taxable sales and purchases earlier this year saw their best numbers of the coronavirus pandemic.

Statewide taxables sales and purchases for January, February and March totaled $4.14 billion, down 9.9% compared to the same first-quarter period of 2020. 

“Though the overall report shows a decline compared to the first quarter of 2020, the first quarter of 2021 shows substantial growth for many cities and counties,” Tax Commissioner Ryan Rauschenberger said in a statement. “This is the first we’ve seen positive increases in taxable sales and purchases since the coronavirus pandemic hit the state” in March 2020.

Increases over the January-March 2020 period included 17.6% for Fargo, 11.3% for Bismarck, 10.5% for Grand Forks and 4% for Minot. Mandan was down 2.6%. Park River had the highest increase, of 79.3%.

Cities in the Bakken oil field reported declines, including 42.3% for Williston, 22.8% for Dickinson, 66% for New Town and 57.4% for Tioga.

The most significant declines came from the mining and oil extraction and the wholesale sectors -- 58.9% and 23.5%, respectively, which the state tax office attributed to recent woes in the oil industry. 

“The impacts of the global pandemic continue to affect the state’s economy,” Tax Commissioner Ryan Rauschenberger said. “However, as pre-pandemic activity returns, taxable sales will also likely rebound to more normal levels. Early indications of the soundness of the North Dakota economy are reflected in the growth in retail trade and transportation and warehousing sectors.”  

The report is online at


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