NAICS stands for North American Industry Classification System. Implemented in 1997, it is updated every five years in order to account for new industries.
This system is used by U.S. government statistical agencies to classify business establishments for the purpose of collecting, analyzing, and publishing statistics related to the U.S. business economy. It is a hierarchical system representing 20 economic sectors, made up of two to six digits, with each level becoming more specific. To learn more about the organizational structure for 2012 NAICS codes click here.
There are several ways to find a NAICS code; some of them are described below.
1. Go to the following URL to access the NAICS search engine: http://www.census.gov/eos/www/naics/. Enter the name of the industry you are researching (do not do company searches in this database).
You will retrieve a list of codes that contain the keyword/s you used. Look through the list to find the one that looks relevant. Be sure to click on a link to read the description and verify that it is the correct code.
2. If you have the name of a company, use a database like Hoovers Online to find it. Once in Hoovers take the following steps:
a. Enter the name of your company in the search box.
b. You will get a list of results. Click on your company’s name.
c. Once you have accessed the company’s record click on the “Industry Information” link located in the “Company Index” section located under the company’s name.
d. Once you have clicked on the “Industry Information” link you will find the NAICS and SIC codes. Sometimes companies will have several codes and those will show up in Hoovers. The main codes are in bold.
You can also use the tutorial below to learn how to find a code:
Once you have a code you can use it to find information in databases. For instance, use:
1. CenStats to find U.S. business patterns.
2. FirstResearch to find industry reports
3. Bizminer for industry ratios and financial benchmarks.