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North Dakota residents’ reported income drops 13 percent

December 18, 2018

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Reported income by all North Dakotans dropped nearly 13 percent in 2017 due to a prolonged slump in agriculture and energy prices, according to figures the state’s tax commissioner released to The Associated Press.

Tax Commissioner Ryan Rauschenberger said the total adjusted gross income for the state slid from $31.2 billion in 2016 to $27.8 billion last year.

The figures show 457,639 people filed state income tax returns last year, down nearly 4,100 from 2016 and about 28,000 fewer than in 2014. That was largely due to oil-related workers leaving the state, which trails only Texas as the nation’s top oil producer.

The oil industry has helped grow wages throughout the state and created hundreds of high-paying jobs in the past decade. It also has an effect on other industries, including wholesale trade and manufacturing.

Rebounding oil prices in the past few months have driven production to a record 1.3 million barrels daily, besting previous records set in 2014.

“We suffered a period of outmigration in the past couple of years but it seems to have leveled off as the state’s economy has picked back up,” said Kevin Iverson, manager of the census office at the state Commerce Department.

Iverson and Rauschenberger said the state’s economy increasingly is hamstrung by the lack of workers. There are more than 13,000 advertised jobs in the state but officials believe the number of more jobs than takers is at least double that.

“We have a shortage of thousands of workers,” Rauschenberger said. “We are also at the whim of a strong national economy, and we’re not in a position to fill all those jobs.”

Despite fewer filed returns, the average gross income for 2017 was $69,462, up more than $1,600 from the prior year, but down from $73,360 from than the record set in 2014, figures show.

Data show 760 people reported incomes of more than $1 million on their 2017 individual tax returns, up from 686 in 2016, but down from the record 1,120 people in 2014 when the state’s oil boom was at its zenith.

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