Sales up here: Taxable sales and purchases not only increase in Oil PatchDon’t be misled — it’s not just the area surrounding North Dakota’s Oil Patch that is experiencing growth. This according to a report released last week by the state tax commissioner’s office. The report examined taxable sales and purchases from 2010 to 2011 throughout North Dakota.
By: Brian Willhide, The Jamestown Sun
Don’t be misled — it’s not just the area surrounding North Dakota’s Oil Patch that is experiencing growth.
This according to a report released last week by the state tax commissioner’s office. The report examined taxable sales and purchases from 2010 to 2011 throughout North Dakota.
While the big story is western North Dakota’s Oil Patch city of Williston and its 88.5 percent growth, local cities like Jamestown, Carrington, Cooperstown, LaMoure and Valley City in the eastern and southeastern parts of the state saw noteworthy increases as well.
Jamestown, for example, saw a 16 percent increase ($34.5 million) in taxable sales and purchases from 2010 to 2011. The total for 2011 was $249 million.
Jamestown reported an increase in taxable sales and purchases in all reported industries except for real estate. The greatest increase came from the wholesale trade industry, which was up $8.7 million — more than 49 percent.
“Sixteen percent is very, very good,” said Kathy Strombeck, director of research and communications with the state tax commissioner’s office.
While she said the statewide increase of almost 39 percent is staggering and “new to all of us here,” Strombeck said it’s important not to overlook the growth taking place outside of the Oil Patch.
“Most communities in the country would be thrilled with 16 percent,” she said. “It just shows that the basic economies — agriculture, manufacturing and retail trade —which are big in areas such as Jamestown and the surrounding cities, are experiencing very healthy growth as well.”
With low unemployment prevalent and local salaries on the rise, customer confidence is up, according to Kimberly Saxberg, executive director of the Jamestown Chamber of Commerce.
“Customers have supplementary income to spend,” she said. “While the rest of the country wallows in financial misery, North Dakotans — while typically very conservative — have confidence in the economy, the leadership and the direction of the state.”
Carrington saw a very similar increase to Jamestown from 2010 to 2011 at 15.6 percent ($8 million).
It’s something that has been noticeable around town, according to Laurie Dietz, executive director for the Carrington Chamber of Commerce.
“Carrington seems to be a hub for surrounding rural areas,” she said. “Plus, we feel like we’re doing a good job of promoting businesses and shopping right here in town.”
Dietz said there has been an influx of traffic recently as well.
“The town is getting busier and busier. We’re getting several calls each week from people looking for work and housing here,” she said.
Cooperstown in Griggs County —population of about 1,000 — has experienced a significant jump in taxable sales in purchases, up 21.3 percent ($3.1 million) from 2010 to 2011.
The town has experienced noticeable growth since 2009, which, according to City Auditor Farrah Saxberg, is probably thanks to an increase in construction.
“There have been a number of construction sites in town, and the Ronald Reagan Minuteman Missile Site has brought in a lot more people than before,” she said.
The site was designated as a historic site by the North Dakota State Historical Society in 2009 and features an underground nuclear missile command site preserved from the Cold War.
“Housing is full here and a demand for it continues,” Farrah Saxberg said.
Other noteworthy increases in local cities include Valley City, which was up 14.3 percent ($9.6 million) and LaMoure, which had one of the largest increases in the southeastern part of the state at 24.8 percent ($5.5 million).
These growth statistics shows real strength in smaller communities, according to Jennifer Feist, director of development with the Valley Development Group.
“It proves our economy is stronger over here in the eastern part of the state, too,” Fiest said. “We’re not Fargo or Bismarck or Grand Forks and we’re not sitting on oil, but these increases show real strength for somewhere like here.”
Fourteen of 15 industries examined in the report showed statewide growth, with only the category of educational, health care and social service indicating negative growth.
Valley City reported healthy increases in several industries as well. The greatest increase came from the construction industry, which was up more than 90 percent ($3.6 million).
Despite the positive statistics, it’s important to be aware of the state’s challenges as well, according to Andy Peterson, president of the North Dakota Chamber of Commerce.
“We have some challenges certainly — workforce development, filling jobs, housing and child care to name a few,” he said. “Housing is a challenge all across the state, including in Jamestown, and then we’ve got factories that could expand but are struggling to do so because of the lack of qualified workers.”
Peterson said despite those concerns though, North Dakota, including local south central counties should be proud of the situation we’re in.
“I’d trade those challenges any day for some of the challenges other states in our region are struggling through,” he said.
The full report is available online at the state tax commissioner’s office’s website by visiting www.nd.gov/tax/salesanduse/pubs/.
Sun reporter Brian Willhide can be reached at 701-952-8454 or by email at email@example.com