January 7, 2016

The bloom is off the boom


Revenues drop as oil activity fades

By Jerry W. Kram

Figures on taxable sales and purchases in North Dakota for the third quarter of 2015 show the steep impact of falling oil prices in the Bakken. Most communities in the region saw drops between one third and one half from the same period in 2014.

Mountrail County had the third largest drop in revenue in North Dakota with a drop of just over 44 percent, trailing just Williams and Burke Counties. McKenzie County saw sales drop by more than a third at 36 percent.

Of the 50 largest communities around the state, Stanley had the largest decline as a percentage, nearly 50 percent. Sales in the community declined from $44 million to $22 million. Williston saw almost as large a percentage decline, although at $450 million, the decline in dollars spent was about 20 times as large.

New Town’s lower sales weren’t nearly as dramatic, with people and businesses spending about $11 million less than they did in 2014. That still represents a decline of more than a third at 34 percent. Watford City saw a similar decline.

Statewide, taxable sales and purchases were $5.7 billion for July, August and September of 2015, a drop of nearly 25 percent over those months in 2014. That follows a 16 percent drop in the second quarter of 2015.

"Although taxable sales and purchases for the third quarter are down when compared with 2014, viewing it with a longer-term perspective still shows an increase," said Tax Commissioner Ryan Rauschenberger. "Taxable sales and purchases for the third quarter have increased more than 31 percent since 2010."

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