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Doing Industry Research: A Resource Guide

North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS)

NAICS logo.

In 1997 the North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS) was developed to replace the SIC code and is designed to be renewed/revised every 5 years. It was developed jointly by the U.S., Canada, and Mexico in order to provide new comparability in statistics about business activity across North America. NAICS identifies hundreds of new, emerging, and advanced technology industries and reorganizes industries into more meaningful sectors — especially in the service-producing segments of the economy. Generally, the NAICS is much better at covering the industries that exploded in the 1990's — e-commerce and related areas, biotechnology, heavily technical areas, etc. but for some industries, notably retail, using SIC codes is better. For a further discussion go to Census' explanation.

While the system is organized somewhat like the SIC, the numbers are not necessarily comparable. However, the Economic Census web page does offer various conversion tools to bridge between the SIC and various NAICS versions so you can match data under the systems when doing research for the time frame when the government started to use the NAICS system or doing research comparing older data to current.

Here is a chart with the sector and description for the 2017 edition.

Sector Description
11 Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Hunting
21 Mining, Quarrying, and Oil and Gas Extraction
22 Utilities
23 Construction
31-33  Manufacturing
42 Wholesale Trade
44-45  Retail Trade
48-49  Transportation and Warehousing
51 Information
52 Finance and Insurance
53 Real Estate and Rental and Leasing
54 Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services
55 Management of Companies and Enterprises
56 Administrative and Support and Waste Management and Remediation Services
61 Educational Services
62 Health Care and Social Assistance
71 Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation
72 Accommodation and Food Services
81 Other Services (except Public Administration)
92 Public Administration