North Dakota’s taxable sales showed a slight increase in the third quarter of 2017.
Tax Commissioner Ryan Rauschenberger said for July, August and September, taxable sales were more than $4.7 billion. That’s a 2.3 percent increase over those same months in 2016.
Rauschenberger attributes the increase to oil production in western North Dakota.
"Oil prices started coming back up," Rauschenberger said. "We had strong oil production."
Rauschenberger said the oil sector was up 80 percent compared to 2016.
"That had a huge positive impact," Rauschenbeger said.
Rauschenberger says statewide, retail was down slightly -- about 4 percent -- in that quarter. And he said the numbers were not as robust in central and eastern North Dakota.
"We saw lower construction numbers," Rauschenberger said. "We had so much construction in the central and eastern part of the state in te 2015 to 2016 time frame, and some large construction projects finished up in 2016."
Meanwhile, the numbers aren’t yet in, but Rauschenberger said retailers seem to be happy with the 2017 Christmas shopping season. One reason – the weather was better in December, 2017, than it was the year previous.
"In 2016, basically the whole month of December was essentially a blizzard," Rauschenberger said. "People were just not out and about, and buying."
Rauschenberger said in 2016, some of the malls had to close for a day or two because of the snow. He said it’ll be a few months before he’ll know how the season actually went.