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NAICS Frequently Asked Questions
The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS pronounced Nakes) is a unique, all-new system for classifying business establishments. Adopted in 1997 to replace the old Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) system, it is the industry classification system used by the statistical agencies of the United States. It is the first economic classification system to be constructed based on a single economic concept. To learn more about the background, the development and the difference between NAICS and the SIC, visit the following Census website:
A complete list of 2002 NAICS hierarchy including codes and titles is located on the NAICS website under http://www.census.gov/epcd/naics02/naicod02.htm. A code list containing only the 6-digit NAICS codes is located at http://www.census.gov/epcd/naics02/naico602.htm.
You can obtain data for a specific NAICS industry by going to the 1997 Economic Census website, http://www.census.gov/epcd/ec97/us/US000.HTM. This website provides data at the sector level. You may also click on the down arrow, under the heading "More data", and get data at the subsector and industry levels. You may also get data by state, or selected metro area by using the pull-down menus in the upper right hand corner of the page. You may also obtain data from the American Fact Finder website. http://factfinder.census.gov . In this site, look under the Economic Census tab at the bottom of the page. You can obtain a quick report by either industry or geography by clicking on the links listed. Beginning with the 1998 data year, the annual County Business Patterns reports provide employment, payroll, number of establishments (but not sales/receipts). The CBP data can be found at http://www.census.gov/epcd/cbp/view/cbpview.html .
If you are asked (on any form) for your NAICS code, but only know your SIC code, you can enter that code in the form "SIC 1234" in the NAICS search box shown above. You can also find the appropriate 2002 NAICS code by using table 4, 1987 SIC matched to 2002 NAICS at http://www.census.gov/epcd/naics02/S87TON02.HTM. If you have a database of companies with SIC codes, and want to convert the SIC codes to NAICS codes, you can download these correspondence tables in a variety of formats at http://www.census.gov/epcd/naics02/.
NAICS is a 6-digit code system. In developing NAICS, the United States, Canada, and Mexico agreed that the 5-digit codes would represent the level at which the system is comparable among the three countries. The sixth digit allows for each of the countries to have additional detail (i.e., subdivisions of a 5-digit category). In cases where the U.S. did not choose to create additional detail, the 5- and 6-digit categories within U.S. NAICS are the same, and the 6-digit US NAICS code ends in zero. In some hierarchical presentations, the 6-digit code is omitted where it is the same as the 5-digit category.
Example: 33992 Sporting and Athletic Goods Manufacturing 339920 Sporting and Athletic Goods Manufacturing 33993 Doll, Toy, and Game Manufacturing 339931 Doll and Stuffed Toy Manufacturing 339932 Game, Toy, and Children's Vehicle ManufacturingBecause NAICS 33993 is subdivided into two 6-digit industries, "339930" is not a valid code. A complete list of 6-digit codes is available for reference ( ASCII) ( spreadsheet).
There is no "official" way to have a company's SIC or NAICS code changed. Various Federal government agencies maintain their own lists of business establishments, and assign classification codes based on their own programmatic needs. Generally, the classification codes are derived from information that the business establishment has provided on administrative, survey, or census reports.
For this reason, we recommend that you contact the agency that has assigned the code that you believe should be changed. For example, if you question the SIC or NAICS code contained on a form received from OSHA, you should contact the Department of Labor. If it is a form from the Bureau of the Census, then see the answer to Question 13, and send us an e-mail using the link provided there. For access to a list of Federal government agencies, visit this website:
The Census Bureau will not provide the names, addresses, or SIC/NAICS classification codes of companies. Such information is confidential, and its confidentiality is protected by Title 13 of the United States Code, which forbids us to share with anyone else specific data reported to us by a company.
There are a number of private research firms that provide SIC/NAICS codes for specific companies, often for a fee. The Census Bureau cannot verify the accuracy of the codes provided by these companies, and the codes provided by these companies may or may not agree with the codes assigned by the Census Bureau or other government agencies. Some of the companies are:
Dun & Bradstreet - www.dnb.com
The Census Bureau uses the NAICS system to classify establishments according to their primary industrial activity. We do not use the NAICS system to classify occupations. To obtain additional information on occupational codes, visit the Census website; www.census.gov/hhes/www/occupation.html
The Census Bureau does not define the Small Business Administration (SBA) size standards based on NAICS codes, but provides statistics that allow users to define business categories in any of several ways. To learn more about the size statistics the Census Bureau collects, visit the Census Bureau website; www.census.gov/epcd/www/smallbus.html. If you are interested in finding information about the SBA size standards, visit the SBA website; www.sba.gov/size/NAICS-cover-page.html click on “New Table of Small Business Size Standards based on NAICS codes” in the middle of the page. Or you can contact them at:
Small Business Administration
The INS form I-129W asks for both the industry, the activity of the employing organization, and the occupation of the person. The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code provides the classification of the industry of the employing organization, whereas, the Department of Labor provides the occupation code. For a better understanding and an example, visit the Census Bureau website; www.census.gov/epcd/www/ins129w.htm . You can search for a NAICS code at http://www.census.gov/cgi-bin/epcd/srchnaics02defs, or use the search box in answer to question 4 above.
The 1997 NAICS manual is available through National Technical Information Service (NTIS). You may purchase a hardcover or softcover printed version or a CD-ROM version. To obtain more information about purchasing the 1997 NAICS manual, visit NTIS website; http://www.ntis.gov/product/naics.htm.
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