First Quarter Taxable Sales and Purchases Increase Nearly 10 Percent

BISMARCK, N.D. – Tax Commissioner Ryan Rauschenberger announced yesterday that North Dakota’s taxable sales and purchases for the first quarter of 2018 had increased by nearly 10 percent. Taxable sales and purchases for January, February and March 2018 were nearly $4.1 billion, a 9.55 percent increase over those months in 2017.

“This 10 percent increase in the first quarter is the largest year-over-year growth we’ve seen since 2014,” Rauschenberger said. “We are continuing with positive gains as this is the fourth quarter in a row that we’ve seen growth in this report. This is a good measure of economic activity in the state.”

Rauschenberger added that growth in taxable sales and purchases may continue this fall and into next year as a result of the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision affirming the ability for states to require remote sellers to collect and remit sales tax for items purchased online and delivered into the state.

Nine of the 15 major sectors reported taxable sales and purchases gains when compared to the first quarter a year ago. Most notably, the mining and oil extraction sector increased by $253 million (a 78.42 percent increase) and the wholesale trade sector increased by $145.5 million (an 18.41 percent increase).

“The retail trade sector continues to dominate this report,” Rauschenberger said. “However, the increase in oil activity in the western part of the state played a major role in moving this report to a double-digit positive again. Williston has moved back to having the second largest taxable sales and purchases in the state, with Fargo holding at first.”

Percent changes for the first quarter of 2018 (compared to the first quarter of 2017) for the top six largest cities in North Dakota were as follows:

  • Williston – Increase of 33.19 percent
  • Dickinson – Increase of 14.72 percent
  • Fargo – Decrease of 1.96 percent
  • Minot – Decrease of 2.4 percent
  • Bismarck – Decrease of 7.16 percent
  • Grand Forks – Decrease of 15.17 percent

Of the 50 largest cities in North Dakota, the highest percent increases for the first quarter of 2018 (compared to the first quarter of 2017) were as follows:

  • New Rockford – Increase of 44.12 percent
  • Watford City – Increase of 40.63 percent
  • Tioga – Increase of 38.36 percent
  • Williston – Increase of 33.19 percent
  • New Town – Increase of 28.15 percent

Counties with the highest percent increases for the first quarter of 2018 (compared to the first quarter of 2017) were as follows:

  • Renville County – Increase of 48.33 percent
  • McKenzie County – Increase of 37.32 percent
  • Eddy County – Increase of 34.18 percent
  • Williams County – Increase of 33.29 percent
  • Griggs County – Increase of 27.8 percent

The complete first quarter 2018 North Dakota Sales and Use Tax Statistical Report can be accessed online at