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Economics: NAICS / SIC codes

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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 technically are not required to declare a NAICS code. 
  • The US Census cannot release companies’ NAICS codes due to confidentiality laws. Multiple company research firms provide NAICS codes, but the US government cannot guarantee their accuracy.
  • 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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