In some areas, it is not easy to quantify the impact the booming petroleum industry is having on the state of North Dakota.
In other ways, it's relatively obvious.
The city of Minot saw taxable sales grow more than 16 percent in the third quarter of 2010 over that same period the previous year, totaling nearly $270 million. When combined with taxable purchases, defined as items purchased by businesses for their own use on which they did not pay sales tax to the suppliers, that total climbs to almost $295 million, representing an increase of more than 18 percent.
In Ward County, the percentages are close to the same, with sales growing 16.2 percent to $285.1 million, and sales and purchases climbing 17.9 percent to $310.5 million.
The figures were released Dec. 30 by the office of North Dakota State Tax Commissioner Cory Fong and are based on figures reported to that office.
As impressive as those numbers are, they somewhat pale in comparison to cities northwest of Minot, where oil activity is in full bloom. Williston's taxable sales and purchases climbed nearly 151 percent to a whopping $378.6 million, pushing that city past Bismarck to rank behind only Fargo in that category statewide.
Meanwhile, the tiny city of Tioga saw a 185.6 percent increase to $78.6 million, a figure that handily outpaces much larger cities such as Mandan, Jamestown and West Fargo. Tioga ranks seventh in the state in that category, trailing only Fargo, Williston, Bismarck, Minot, Grand Forks and Dickinson in that order.
Williams County, home to both Williston and Tioga, accounted for about $91.3 million more than Burleigh County, where Bismarck is located.
The third quarter encompasses sales in July, August and September.
North Dakota as a whole increased about $863 million in taxable sales and purchases, a 28 percent hike over 2009. That figure owes in large part to the mining and oil extraction industry, which increased from just under $158 million to nearly $464 million, a 194 percent increase.
However, it should also be noted that oil prices fell during 2009, with the drilling rig count bottoming out at fewer than 40 rigs, down from a 2008 high of nearly 100. 2008's total taxable sales and purchases also climbed 28 percent statewide over 2007, suggesting a direct correlation between the health of the energy industry and the statewide economy.
Mining and oil extraction figures fell from $285 million in the third quarter of 2008 to the previously mentioned 2009 figure of $158 million.