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Published February 25, 2013, 09:05 AM

Officials: North Dakota was growing before oil boom

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — State leaders say North Dakota would have grown with or without oil — just not as rapidly.

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — State leaders say North Dakota would have grown with or without oil — just not as rapidly.

Tax Commissioner Cory Fong tells the Bismarck Tribune that the state was growing steadily since the middle of 2003, long before the oil boom that brought prosperity and infrastructure concerns.

Greater North Dakota Chamber president Andy Peterson says that "oil of course propelled" the state's economy. But he says the state was still "well on track."

Based on taxable sales and purchases, industries other than oil have seen an uptick. That includes retail trade, manufacturing and wholesale trade between businesses. Agriculture also remains a major player in the economy.

North Dakota Grain Growers Association executive director Dan Wogsland says agriculture is a $35 billion industry and an "economic engine" in North Dakota.

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