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In the money: 2nd-quarter FY2012 taxable sales and purchases up more than 55 percent in Dickinson, up nearly 42 percent statewide

The numbers are in for taxable sales and purchases in Dickinson for the second quarter of the 2012 fiscal year and the results are off the charts.

When compared to second quarter numbers from 2011, taxable sales and purchases in the city of Dickinson from April through June were up an eye-popping 55.4 percent, according to a report released Wednesday by North Dakota Tax Commissioner Cory Fong.

With oil and gas activity driving economic activity, taxable sales and purchases were up nearly 42 percent statewide.

"This is a good report to show consumer confidence in North Dakota," Fong said. "These numbers are being compared to the second quarter of 2011, when we were up 55 percent (statewide), so this is growth on growth."

Measuring data from 15 industry sectors, only one (utilities) failed to show growth statewide. In Dickinson, real estate led the way with a whopping 150 percent increase while mining and oil extraction (up 95 percent), manufacturing (up 78 percent) and wholesale trade (up 75 percent) also showed large gains.

"This is an incredible statement to make, but western North Dakota is the most dynamic business environment in the country right now," Dickinson Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Cooper Whitman said. "It's almost unbelievable to say that, but we see it every day with our own eyes. You could even say western North Dakota is one of the most dynamic business environments in the world today."

Although a good chunk of the uptick in economic activity lately can be attributed to the oil boom, Fong said these types of positive have been coming since before the current boom.

"Clearly, the type of growth we're seeing now is not something that will be sustainable long term," Fong said. "But we were seeing these numbers going up since before the current oil and gas uptick. Since the second quarter of 2003, we've seen growth of taxable sales and purchases in 34 of the 37 quarters and growth in the double digits in 18 of those quarters. Those are phenomenal numbers."

In Dickinson, retail sales were up 36 percent and the sector measuring accommodation and food services was up 41 percent. Although the TSP numbers don't count all sales -- auto purchases are not added -- total TSP in Dickinson were up $97 million for the second quarter, reaching a total of more than $261 million.

Reaping the economic benefits of their locations in the oil-rich Bakken, Stark County and Dunn County saw some of the largest gains of TSP in the state as Stark County was up 61 percent and Dunn County 64 percent.

"Agriculture continues to be a key component for our state's economy," Fong said. "This is still an economy based on agriculture, but we're seeing a lot of diversification as well. The oil and gas activity is driving some of that, but we're seeing big rises in other sectors, like manufacturing."

The mining and oil extraction sector in the state saw a rise in TSP of more than $487 million in the second quarter, a rise of 65 percent. Total TSP in North Dakota were up $1.6 billion for the second quarter of 2012.

Bryan Horwath
A Wisconsin native, Horwath has been covering news in the Oil Patch of North Dakota since 2012. Horwath currently serves as the senior agriculture and political reporter for The Dickinson Press and, despite the team's tendency to always let him down, remains a diehard Minnesota Vikings fan.
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