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Industry Information: Industry Classification Codes

Resources for Industry Information

NAICS & SIC: What They Are & How To Use Them

The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) and the Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) are numerical classification systems created by the U.S. government. These systems are used to classify like companies into industry groupings for the purpose of collecting, analyzing and publishing statistical data related to the U.S. business economy. The SIC system was originally developed in the 1930s and was last updated in 1987. The NAICS system was first released in 2002 and is is reviewed every five years to determine what, if any, changes are required.

While NAICS has "officially" replaced SIC, some business directories (e.g., Industry Norms and Key Business Ratios) and databases still use one or both of the systems. Therefore, it is important to know about each system and what the appropriate classification codes are before beginning research.

North American Industry Classification System (NAICS)

The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) is a numerical classification system used to group/classify like companies into industries for the purpose of collecting, analyzing and publishing statistical data related to the business economy. It represents a collaboration between the governments of Canada, Mexico and the United States stemming from the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). It categorizes narrowly defined economic activities, or industries, in a consistent manner among the the three trading partners, although the system does leave room for fine level customization with each country. For more information, see the U.S. Census Bureau e-tutorial on NAICS.

Example of NAICS Classification by Digit Level:

  • Sector: 44 Retail Trade
  • Subsector: 443 Electronics and Appliance Stores
  • Industry Group: 4431 Electronics and Appliance Stores
  • International Industry: 44311 Appliance, Television, and Other Electronics Stores
  • National Industry: 443111 Household Appliance Stores (Countries may designate a six-digit code to recognize large, important industries relevant to the specific country.)

The following websites can be used to identify appropriate NAICS codes:

Company Profiles may also be used to identify the NAICS code(s) for any industries in which a company may operate.

U.S. Census Bureau e-tutorial on NAICS

Standard Industrial Classification Codes (SIC)

Company Profiles may also be used to identify the SIC code(s) for any industries in which a company may operate.