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NAICS and SIC Codes

Industry Classification Overview

Various classification systems and other frameworks have been developed over time to structure our understanding of business and industry.  Not unlike the numbering systems that libraries use to organize their resources, business and industry classification systems help us to organize our knowledge about all the elements that comprise the landscape of commerce.    

The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) and the Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) codes are numerical codes assigned by the U.S. government to business establishments to identify the primary business of the establishment.

The classification systems were developed to facilitate the collection, presentation, and analysis of data; and to promote uniformity and comparability in the presentation of statistical data collected by various agencies of the federal government, state agencies, and private organizations.  SIC codes are four digit numbers and were used by the federal government until 1997; some private publishers still use them. NAICS codes are six digits long and have been used by federal agencies starting in 1997.

To find out more about the NAICS and SIC systems, click the tabs above.

NAICS and Business Research

You can use the NAICS or SIC code to find information about industries in many sources, including:

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