Chamber report shows areas of Minot economy picking up

Segments of Minot economy show growth

Jill Schramm/MDN Shoppers visit Target at Dakota Square Mall Aug. 2. Sales tax collections in Minot are up this year over 2018.

Minot’s economy has picked up slightly in some areas, although the city isn’t seeing the new construction starts that it once did.

Taxable sales and purchases in Minot in 2019 totaled $221.4 million in the first quarter of 2019, up from $208.7 million in the same period in 2018. In Ward County, taxable sales were $233 million, up from $219.5 million.

“We are seeing a small uptick and I think what you are seeing is people understanding what the new normal is and settling in,” said John MacMartin, Minot Area Chamber of Commerce president.

The expansion of the requirement to collect sales tax from many online businesses also is boosting collections to an extent not yet known. Minot City Manager Tom Barry told the Minot City Council recently that the city is estimating additional city sales taxes of $100,000 to $250,000 in 2020. Through June, the city has collected about $5 million in total from each of its 1% sales taxes.

Airline boardings also have been consistently up at Minot International Airport this year. Through July, the airport recorded 95,075 boardings, up 7.56% from the same period in 2018. Boardings were up 13.65% during the month of July, which saw the largest numbers since the peak years of 2012-2014.

Home sales and prices are down somewhat from last year. So far this year, 279 single-family homes sold in Minot in the first six months, compared to 303 last year over the same time. For Minot and surrounding area, there were 392 homes sales, compared to 425 in the first six months of 2018. However, home sale numbers in the first six months of 2019 are higher than in 2016 and 2017 for the most part for Minot and area.

The average selling price was $212,387 in Minot and $201,136 in Minot and area. That compares with $217,880 and $208,081 in 2018. Prices have been declining in the past few years with the release of pressure from an oil boom and flood.

Building permit activity is holding steady in new residential construction with 33 permits through June this year. New commercial construction and total construction are down considerably from last year when Trinity took out permits for its medical complex. However, the $17.4 million through June is similar to permit activity in 2017.

Minot’s unemployment rate remains low at 2.6% in June, which is lower than the 2.9% in June 2018. Ward County’s rate was also 2.6% and North Dakota’s rate was 2.7%. U.S. unemployment was 3.8%.

MacMartin said the number of help wanted signs indicates that employers are having to look harder to find employees. Job Service North Dakota reports nearly 13,000 open jobs across the state.

Minot’s hotel industry is seeing activity pick up somewhat, too. The 2% bed tax collected $249,287 through June, up from $221,331 in 2018. The hotel occupancy rate through June was 47%, up a percentage point from 2018.