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What Are Industry Codes and How Do I Find Them?

How can I find the code(s) for my industry?

First check the North American Industry Classification System at http://www.census.gov/epcd/www/naics.html

It's best to NOT use the keyword search box. Instead, browse for codes by clicking "2017 NAICS." Or click on the "2017 NAICS Manual" and look in the alphabetical index (beginning on page 651) under all the words that could describe the business.

If you need an industry code from the older Standard Industrial Classification Manual 1987, consult the book shelved in the Bailey/Howe Library Reference Stacks (1st Floor) at HF1042.A55

What is an industry code?

An industry code is a number that represents an industry or type of business. These codes were developed by the U.S. government to make it easier to group businesses into categories called "industries," and to collect information about those industries.

Until 1997, the government used the Standard Industrial Classification system (often called "SIC"). SIC codes are four-digit numbers. The government now uses a system called North American Industrial Classification System ("NAICS"). NAICS codes are five- or six-digit numbers.

For example, the SIC code for the ice cream manufacturing industry is "2024." The NAICS code for the same industry is "311520."

Why do I need to know the SIC and NAICS codes for my industry?

Many business information sources are arranged by NAICS or SIC codes, so it's helpful to know your code(s) to find the information you need.






© Trina Magi, University of Vermont Libraries, 2002
Page last updated March 9, 2017

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