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SIC & NAICS Codes: What are SIC & NAICS?

Standard Industrial Classification [SIC] & North American Industrial Classification [NAICS] Codes -- What they are and where can you find them.

SIC & NAICS: What Are They & How Will I Use Them?

The SIC and NAICS are numerical classification systems created by the United States government.  These systems are used to group/classify similar companies into industries for the purposes of collecting, analyzing, and publishing statistical data related to the U.S. business economy. The SIC system was originally developed in the 1930s and was last updated in 1987.  The NAICS system was first released in 2002, updated in 2007 and last updated in 2012. 

While NAICS has "officially" replaced SIC, many business directories and databases still use one or both of the systems.  Therefore, it is important to know about both SIC and NAICS.

  • The Standard Industrial Classification(SIC) consists of four digit numbers that apply to a company based on the type of products or services it produces.
    • An example of an SIC Code is:  5812 = Eating Places
  • The North American Industry Classification System(NAICS) employs six digits to allow for greater specificity for classifying an industry. 
    • An example of a NAICS Code is: 722110 = Full Service Restaurants

Of note:

  • Many companies operate across a variety of industries and may be assigned more than one code. A company's primary SIC/NAICS code is usually the first in a listing.
  • Some library databases allow you to search using SIC and/or NAICS codes to pull up company lists or articles about a specific industry.