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Business: NAICS / SIC codes

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NAICS / SIC Codes


Find a NAICS or SIC code


By Industry:

Visit the NAICS or SIC websites to search or browse for any code(s). 

 

By Company: 

Use the Mergent Intellect database to find a known company, e.g. General Electric (GE), to see the codes listed on that company's landing page.

 


Understand NAICS and SIC codes


U.S. Industries (and therefore the companies operating in those industries) are commonly classified according to two codes: 

NAICS = North American Industry Classification System

SIC = Standard Industry Classification

 

Key Points:

  • Codes are important because they act as standard/controlled language for industries.  For example, "green technology" is a vague term that could refer to many industries, whereas NAICS code 221114 refers only to Solar Electric Power Generation.
     
  • NAICS codes are newer and more specific than SIC codes.
     
  • SIC codes are what companies must declare when they first file an S-1 with the SEC to be publicly traded on a stock exchange.  Companies are not required to declare their NAICS code; it's optional at the discretion of the company. 
     
  • The Census Bureau is not permitted to release information about individual businesses, including industry classification.  Many research firms ascribe NAICS codes to companies, but accuracy is not guaranteed.  
     
  • No code system is perfect.  Codes might not entirely or accurately describe a company's product(s)/service(s), especially if:
    • 1) a company operates in many lines of business (think of General Electric)
    • 2) a company specializes in a niche product/service in a larger industry

 

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