(Excepts take from an article by Christopher Bjorke for the Bismarck Tribune, Wednesday, September 28)
Economic activity in North Dakota, measured by sales and purchases, are on an extended hot streak with totals from this spring up $1 billion or 31.5 percent above the same period in 2010.
“Those are big numbers, but it doesn’t surprise me as far as what’s going on out here,” said Mike Larson, general manager for Ditch Witch in Mandan, which sells equipment parts and sells and rents machinery. “Our sales are up about 35 percent to 40 percent.”
Larson’s business has been adding staff, and it recently divided its western North Dakota sales territory into a northern half and southern half. The salesman for the upper section is still on pace to meet last year’s sales totals with only half the territory.
According to Larson, “It’s the western part of the state that’s bringing the growth.”
The numbers for individual communities back up that assertion. Fargo still had the largest total sales and purchases with $590 million, but Williston was second $534.5 million. That city saw an increase of 75 percent over the second quarter last year, and the oil patch towns of Tioga and Stanley had increases above 100 percent.
“That’s astounding,” said Tax Commissioner Cory Fong of Williston’s share of total transactions. “There’s tons of growth, tons of construction and tons of transportation of products.”
Among industries, mining and oil extraction was up by 83 percent, but transportation and real estate were both up by more than 100 percent over spring of 2010. Total taxable sales on purchases were $4.5 billion, up from $3.4 billion in the second quarter of 2010, according to Fong’s office.
The latest figures cover the months of April, May and June, and they show a fourth consecutive quarter of above 25 percent growth over the previous year. The first quarter of 2011 was up 33.6 percent and the third and fourth quarters of 2010 were up 28 percent and 31.2 percent, respectively, over 2009.
“Anything over 20 percent or 30 percent is pretty remarkable,” Fong said. “It’s not just the west, and it’s not just oil.”
Although there’s a caveat in that the latest figures only cover activity through the end of June and likely do not reflect the full impact of summer flooding and prevented planting due to wet weather, it’s obvious that North Dakota’s economy is robust and growing. And that makes it a great time to prepare now for coming opportunities by enrolling in Dale Carnegie Training programs.
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Photo credit: Sujin Jetkasettakorn