The University of North Carolina at Greensboro

GEO 533 Regional Economic Development: NAICS & SIC

Why are there two industry classification systems here?

  • NAICS is the modern system used by the U.S. Census. Pre-1992 U.S. industry detail uses SIC.
  • ISIC, based on SIC, is used to compare global industrial sectors.

Finding SIC codes by industry name

What are SIC codes?

SIC is the Standard Industrial Classification.
 

  • Created by the U.S. Census Bureau in the 1930's, SIC codes are numbers that classify industries (i.e. business activities, like types of manufacturing and services).
  • SIC codes are hierarchical -- the longer the number, the more detailed the industry. Officially, SIC codes are up to four digits long. However, eight-digit SIC codes are used by some sources (ex. Dun & Bradstreet) to define more specific industries.
  • The Census stopped used SIC codes after 1987. NAICS has replaced the out-of-date SIC structure. However, a few databases and reference books still use SIC codes.


Examples of SIC codes:
 

23 Apparel made from fabrics and similar materials
232 Men's and boys' furnishings, work clothing, and allied garments
2325 Men's and boy's separate trousers and slacks

Finding NAICS codes by industry name

What are NAICS codes?

NAICS is the North American Industrial Classification System:

NAICS logo
  • NAICS official homepage
  • Pronounced "nakes," NAICS codes are numbers that classify industries (i.e. business activities, like types of manufacturing and services).
  • NAICS codes are hierarchical -- the longer the number, the more detailed the industry. NAICS codes are up to six digits long.
  • NAICS is the modern version of the old SIC structure.
  • NAICS is more detailed than SIC, does a much better job of covering service and technology industries, and covers all three NAFTA economies.
     

Examples of NAICS codes:
 

51 Information
513 Broadcasting and telecommunications
5133 Telecommunications
51332 Wireless telecommunications carriers (except satellite)
513322 Cell phones and cell phone service
 

So what? NAICS make it easy to:
 

  • Find competitors and customers;
  • Find industry reports;
  • Benchmark finances (ex. financial ratios and the Economic Census);
  • Analyze trade data, employment trends, etc.
  • See the Industry Analysis guide for some resources that use NAICS.

Video: Identifying NAICS (Industry) Codes

NAICS video thumbnailIdentifying NAICS Codes

This five-minute video introduces NAICS (North American Industrial Classification System) codes and demonstrates how to identify an industry's code using the Census web site. SIC codes are covered, too.

Business & CARS Librarain

Steve Cramer
Contact:
152B Jackson Library (ask for me at the Information Desk)
336-256-0346
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