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Rauschenberger: 2013 Annual Taxable Sales and Purchases Maintaining at Record Level

BISMARCK, N.D. – Tax Commissioner Ryan Rauschenberger today released two reports showing that the record level of taxable sales and purchases realized during 2012 has been maintained in 2013.

North Dakota taxable sales and purchases in the fourth quarter 2013, which includes the months of October, November, and December, were $6.755 billion, a slight decrease of $281 million or 0.04 percent, compared to the fourth quarter 2012. For calendar year 2013, taxable sales and purchases were more than $25.464 billion, growing by 0.5 percent compared to 2012.

“The Sales and Use Tax Statistical Reports have long been used as a barometer of the economic activity in the state. As such, it is important to focus on the tremendous level of activity that is reflected on these reports and the fact that taxable sales and purchases are continuing at a record level,” said Rauschenberger.

“A slower and more sustainable growth was expected for 2013, and this annual taxable sales and purchases report reflects this trend. Taxable sales and purchases in 2013 were more than double the $12.397 billion reported just five years ago in 2008, which has been an unparalleled rate of economic expansion in North Dakota,” he said.

The major industry sectors showing the greatest increases in taxable sales and purchases from 2012 to 2013 were utilities, up 15.1 percent; and the financial, insurance, real estate, rental and leasing industry sector, which grew by 12.1 percent.

Other sectors reporting growth and their increases are professional, scientific, technical and management services, 7.6 percent; wholesale trade, 7.4 percent; information industries, 7.3 percent; manufacturing, 4.3 percent; retail trade, 3.4 percent; other services, 3.2 percent; accommodation and food services, 2.8 percent; and arts, entertainment and recreation, 2.1 percent.

“These industry increases reflect the demand in taxable sales and purchases consistent with North Dakota’s growing population and strong economy,” said Rauschenberger.

Four industry sectors reported decreases over 2012, with the largest being in transportation and warehousing, which was down 26.7 percent; and mining and oil extraction, down 14.8 percent.  The other decreases were in construction, down 8.4 percent; and educational, health care and social services, down 3.8 percent.

Rauschenberger said the decreases in taxable sales and purchases reported by these industries do not suggest they are not thriving. “They show that these industries are moving beyond a period of intensive Bakken-related buildup and rapid expansion and are leveling off to a more sustainable trajectory,” he said.

The annual report includes statistics for the largest 200 cities in the state, of which 120 cities reported increases and 80 reported decreases compared to 2012.

Total taxable sales and purchases in the state’s four major population centers — Bismarck, Fargo, Grand Forks, and Minot — reported growth for 2013 in three cities.  Bismarck was up 2.6 percent; Fargo, 2.0 percent; and Grand Forks was 1.7 percent.  Minot reported a 4.7 percent decrease, reflecting a post-flood leveling off. These four cities reported taxable sales and purchases of $7.334 billion, an increase of $37 million over 2012.

Of the 200 cities, Surrey led the growth of all cities with an increase of 114.3 percent over 2012. Buffalo was next, increasing by 113.8 percent; Lansford was up 108.1 percent; Christine was up 88.7 percent; and Alexander was up 66.6 percent.

Cities reporting the sharpest decline compared to 2012 include Gladstone, down 87.6 percent; Glenburn, down 58.1 percent; Sheyenne, down 42.3 percent; and Halliday, down 39.7 percent.

Included in the annual report are statistics for each of the state’s 53 counties. Grant County led all counties in 2013 increases in taxable sales and purchases, with a 34 percent growth over 2012. McHenry County was next, increasing by 17.6 percent; Divide County was up 16.0 percent; and Sargent County was up 14.9 percent. The counties recording the sharpest decline were Burke County and Sioux counties, both with a drop of 21.0 percent. Cavalier County was down 13.2 percent; and Billings County was down 11.6 percent.

Sales and Use Tax Statistical Reports are used primarily as a summary of economic activity that occurred in the state. The North Dakota Sales and Use Tax Statistical Reports from Fourth Quarter 2013 and the complete 2013 Annual Statistical report are available on the Tax Department’s web site at:

Taxpayers can stay up-to-date on North Dakota tax-related matters by visiting the Tax Department’s web site at or connecting with the Tax Department on Facebook and YouTube.