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Industry and Market Research

This guide lists database and internet resources for industry and market research.

Industry Code Classifications

Industry codes are used to identify and define individual industries. Many library databases allow you to search by NAICS or SIC codes as a keyword, and many government resources are organized by NAICS code. To find the appropriate industry code, use the NAICS and SIC sources below.

NAICS Code - NAICS (pronounced "nakes") is the standard used by Federal statistical agencies in classifying business establishments for the purpose of collecting, analyzing, and publishing statistical data related to the U.S. business economy. The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) replaced the SIC system in 1997. NAICS uses six-digit codes to identify an industry. Many resources use these codes to identify a company’s activities, index companies by activity, and to define industry data and information. For more information on the history and structure of the NAICS, as well as to search for codes, visit the NAICS Association website at http://www.naics.com/ and the U.S. Census Bureau at http://www.census.gov/eos/www/naics/.

SIC Code - Last updated in 1987 and replaced by NAICS in 1997, SIC codes are 2-4 digit codes that define specific industries in North America. Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) codes are four-digit codes used to identify an industry. Many resources use these codes to identify a company’s activities, index companies by activity, and to define industry data and information. An excellent website for a list of SIC codes and to search for a code is the OSHA site from the U.S. Department of Labor at http://www.osha.gov/cgi-bin/sic/sicser5.

Examples:

Frozen fruits, fruit juices, and vegetables manufacturing

  • NAICS code: 311411 (31-33 is “Manufacturing” and 311 is “Food Manufacturing”)
  • SIC code: 2037 (20 is “Food and Kindred Products Manufacturing”)

Full-service restaurants

  • NAICS code: 722111 (722 is “Food Services and Drinking Places”)
  • SIC code: 5812 (58 is “Eating and Drinking Places”)

Tips:

Any database has its own criteria for defining industries so they may not be comparable especially for industries that are not well-defined or are small or niche.

  • A company can have more than one SIC or NAICS code, depending on the database. The Census only assigns one NAICS code to each company and is restricted by law from disclosing individual company codes.
  • The codes and descriptions are just one of many industry research tools and not every industry has a related code, nor do the codes tell you everything even if you find one.