The first quarter of 2020 saw a 2.37% increase in taxable sales and purchases for Jamestown, according to the North Dakota Office of the State Tax Commissioner.

The Jamestown figure is slightly below the statewide increase of 2.91%, according to the same report. The report compares the first quarter of 2020 to the first quarter of 2019.

The first quarter includes the months of January, February and March. Business was disrupted for the last two to three weeks of the period when some businesses closed as part of the response to the coronavirus pandemic, said Emily Bivens, executive director of the Jamestown Area Chamber of Commerce.

"The middle of March is when some of the businesses shut down," she said.

Hit hardest were the service industries she said.

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"Hotels, restaurants, small retail, it has been tough on all of them," Bivens said.

The accommodations and foodservice industries in Jamestown were down 10.3% in Jamestown. Across the state of North Dakota, those industries were down 6.4%.

Retail in Jamestown was up 7.2% during the first quarter trailing statewide retail sales that increased by 8.8%. Retail taxable sales and purchases increased from $26,6 million to $28.5 million during the first quarter.

The biggest percentage change in Jamestown taxable sales came in one of the small catagories.

Manufacturing increased from $1.2 million to $1.8 million for a 46% increase in Jamestown. This compares to a 1.8% increase in manufacturing across North Dakota.

"I think it reflects the booming US economy that was roaring prior to Covid pandemic." said Connie Ova, CEO of the Jamestown/Stutsman Development Corp. "Businesses were profiting, we had an employee shortage and were concerned about retaining and training workforce rather than wondering who was going to be exposed to covid next and how long and when we were going to have to isolate."

Looking ahead, the second quarter of the months of April, May and June, will provide more information about how businesses are doing and any potential recovery.

"Some are doing OK, and some are not," Bivens said. "So far, 2020 has been tough."