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North Dakota’s taxable sales and purchases increased 3% in the first quarter despite the pandemic

North Dakota's taxable sales and purchases increased 3% in the first quarter despite the pandemic
North Dakota's taxable sales and purchases increased 3% in the first quarter despite the pandemic(KFYR)
Published: Jul. 9, 2020 at 3:47 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - North Dakota Tax Commissioner Ryan Rauschenberger announced that North Dakota’s taxable sales and purchases for the first quarter of 2020 are up more than $4.590 billion, which is nearly a 3% increase over last year.

Rauschenberger said the office is pleased to report that growth, because it includes the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic but this increase may not be as good as it seems.

A 3% increase in taxable sales and purchases was positive for North Dakota’s first quarter, but it should have been much more according to the state tax commissioner.

“If we wouldn’t have had the, you know. Fears of COVID or the downturn in oil price, which we started to see in March, that also started in March, we would have had a much stronger oil exploration and mining number and a much stronger retail, accommodation and food services number,” said Rauschenberger.       

Notably, the retail sector was up $118M which is 8% higher than last year. “It doesn’t surprise me that you saw kind of a divergent. You saw retail up considerably but you saw accommodation and food services, so hotels restaurants and bars, start to decline at the very end,” said Rauschenberger.     The mining and oil extraction sector increased by $28 million, which is about a 4% increase compared to last year.

"We started to see oil prices start to drop. We expected that number to be much higher. We've seen that number increase 20, 30, 40% year-over-year in quarters, because we've had such strong growth," said Rauschenberger    

The tax commissioner said second-quarter numbers will be important in determining where the economy ends up for the remainder of the year.

The complete first quarter Sales and Use Tax Report can be accessed online at: www.nd.gov/tax.

Copyright 2020 KFYR. All rights reserved.

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