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Last Updated: Mar 12, 2013 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

NAICS Codes Print Page

What are NAICS Codes?

What are NAICS codes?

According to the NAICS website: "The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) is the standard used by Federal statistical agencies in classifying business establishments for the purpose of collecting, analyzing, and publishing statistical data related to the U.S. business economy."

Why are they important to your research? 

NAICS are helpful because most business/industry oriented databases allow you to search by NAICS code.  This allows you to find all the articles/reports, in a particular database, related to your industry in one easy search.

Once you've found all of the articles on your particular industry you can use keywords to refine your search to show only the articles that are relevant to you.

But I keep finding SIC codes.  What are they?

SIC stands for Standard Industrial Classification.  Often times you can search for an industry using NAICS or SIC.  NAICS codes were created to replace SIC codes.  Although the general industrial classification is different, the same general principles apply for doing your research.


Taking a Look at the NAICS

NAICS Codes are 2 to 6 digits in length.  The more digits the more specific the industry.  Take a look at the following figure.

The basic NAICS code, 23, stands for the Construction industry. 

We can break Construction into 3 diferent categories:

  • 236 - Construction of Buildings
  • 237 - Heavy and Civil Engineering Construction
  • 238 - Specialty Trade Contractors

Construction of Buildings can be broken down even further:

  • 2361 - Residential
  • 2362 - Nonresidential

And each industry can get more specific. Each time we more specific, the NAICS code gets longer.


How do I find the NAICS for my Industry?


You have a few options:

  • Use First Research
    1. Go to the business databases
    2. Click on First Resarch
    3. Do a simple keyword search or browse the industries
    4. Choose the most relevant industry description
    5. The NAICS and SIC codes will appear at the top of page.
  • Use Reference USA
    1. Go to the business databases
    2. Click on Reference USA
    3. Click on OneSource
    4. Do a simple keyword search under "Industries"
    5. Choose the most relevant industry description
    6. the matching NAICS code is to the left.
  • Use Reference USA
    1. Go to the business databases
    2. Click on Reference USA
    3. Click on U.S. Businesses
    4. Search on a company that you are either researching or that you would believe to be competitor to your fictional company
    5. Choose the correct company from the results list
    6. Scroll down to the Industry Profile
    7. Choose the most relevant NAICS code

Remember, most companies have more than one relevant NAICS code you may need to look at more than one for your research.

Michael Pujals

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