North Dakota's Taxable Sales Down 33%-Is it Time to Worry?

33% Drop in Taxable Sales for ND

33% Drop in Taxable Sales for ND

North Dakota's Tax Commissioner announces a 33 percent drop in taxable sales for the first quarter of 2016.

Related: North Dakota Revenue Drops

Ryan Rauschenberger, ND Tax Commissioner released the 2016 Q1 report that included data for the largest 50 cities in North Dakota. The report revealed that there was a 33% drop in taxable d blamed the prolonged downturn on drop in sales and purchases state-wide. 

The first quarter decrease is a direct result of the continued downturn in the oil industry and low ag commodity prices,” stated Rauschenberger. “Fundamentally North Dakota is just returning to a pre-oil boom economy. First quarter 2016 is nearly 50 percent greater than the same timeframe in 2010.

Taxable sales and purchases are a key indicator of the economic activity in the North Dakota. This data has followed the pattern of decline that parallels the drop in low crude prices over the last 18 months. 

The report shows that 13 of the 15 state economic indicators dropped during the quarter with mining and oil extraction showing the biggest decline of $716 million. 12 of North Dakota's 53 counties saw any growth

Williston, in the heart of the Bakken, saw the biggest drop in taxable sales and purchases during the quarter of about $432 million, or 61 percent.

It's tough to get a clear read on the reality of North Dakota's post-boom economy as analysts and the media spin the data in a thousand different ways. One industry watchdog says that there really isn't reason to panic, because state revenues are up significantly from pre-oil boom levels. 

Read the full report at