Jamestown sales and purchases up in 2020

A report from the Office of the State Tax Commissioner shows an increase in taxable sales and purchases in 2020 for Jamestown while North Dakota saw a decrease.

haybuster manufacturing
The Haybuster 2665 Shortcut Balebuster is one of the bale processors manufactured here in Jamestown as seen in this 2018 file photo. John M. Steiner / The Sun

Jamestown businesses fared surprisingly well in the pandemic year of 2020, according to Mayor Dwaine Heinrich.

Total taxable sales and purchases for Jamestown were up 1.13%, according to the 2020 Annual Sales and Use Tax Report issued by the Office of the State Tax Commissioner. This compares to a decline of 13.7% for all of North Dakota.

"These are surprising numbers," Heinrich said. "It really speaks to our diverse economy in Stutsman County and our strong manufacturing base."

Manufacturing in Jamestown was up about 64%, rising from $9.3 million in 2019 to $15.2 million in 2020. The increase not only reflects the strong manufacturing base in Jamestown but the ability of these businesses to continue operations throughout the year, said Emily Bivens, executive director of the Jamestown Area Chamber of Commerce.

"If none experienced any shutdowns, that would explain a lot," she said.


Jamestown saw increases in six industry categories including construction, manufacturing, retail, financial institutions, professional services and miscellaneous.

There were decreases in wholesale trade, information services, arts and entertainment, accommodations and food services and "other."

"It is wrong to not recognize that some segments of the economy were hurt over the last year," Heinrich said, referring to the accommodation and food service industries that were closed or forced to offer reduced services during the pandemic.

Accommodation and food services, a single category, took the biggest hit, declining about $7.7 million or 18.1% in Jamestown.

Across North Dakota, that category was down 19.6%.

"It certainly is pandemic related," Bivens said. "Locally, the majority should be all right. They have a good customer base and there is a strong interest in supporting local businesses in the community."

There were not enough businesses reporting in the categories of mining and oil extraction, utilities, transportation and warehousing and education and healthcare for the tax department to report statistics.

The increase in retail in Jamestown for 2020 was below the statewide increase. Jamestown saw an increase of 3.9%, rising from $139.4 million to $144.6 million. Across North Dakota, retail increased 7.2%, rising from $6.7 billion to $7.2 billion. The statewide report does include internet sales while that is not included in the city reports distributed by the Office of the State Tax Commissioner.


Jamestown's 1.13% increase in taxable sales and purchases outperformed most of the major cities in North Dakota with Bismarck down 4.35%, Fargo down 5.5%, Grand Forks down 6% and Minot down 7.6%

Taxable sales and purchases in the central North Dakota region were more of a mixed bag with Edgeley up 10.26%, Carrington up 1.76%, Ellendale down 7.5% and Valley City down 4.9%.

The biggest decreases were in the Oil Patch with Watford City down 42.6% and Williston 39%

Heinrich said the 2020 sales and use tax report for Jamestown was good news in that the business community did as well as it did through the pandemic.

"Now we have to keep the coronavirus at bay," he said. "The way to do that is for people to get vaccinated."

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