The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) 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. It is important to know the NAICS codes associated with your business because you will use them while searching for resources.
Major Classification Systems
North American Industry Classification System (NAICS)
Pronounced ‘nakes’, 6-digit classification system focusing on business activities and production processes. Developed jointly by the U.S., Canada, and Mexico to provide comparable business statistics throughout North America. Businesses using similar production processes are grouped together. An update of NAICS was published in 2012.
Standard Industry Classification System (SIC)
4-digit classification system focusing on manufactured goods and their constituent materials. Developed in the 1930s by the U.S. Central Statistical Board, superseded by NAICS and has not updated since 1987, although many sources such as the U.S. Department of Labor still apply it.
North American Product Classification System (NAPCS)
3-5 digit classification system for products produced by service industries in 12 NAICS sectors in the 48-49 through 81 divisions. Is a complement to NAICS and organizes products primarily by their use. Implementation started in 2007.
Global Industry Classification Standard (GICS)
10-digit classification system developed by MSCI and Standard & Poor’s (S&P) to provide a system that would account for the increasing globalization of industry. Used primarily for finance and investment applications.
Industry Classification Benchmark (ICB)
Developed by Dow Jones Indexes and FTSE, ICB is a global system for investment analysis. It is used by many index funds, stock exchanges, and major financial publications.
International Standard Industrial Classification of All Economic Activities (ISIC)
2-digit classification developed by the United Nations for tracking international economic activity.
Standard International Trade Classification (SITC)
System recommended by the United Nations Statistical Commission to track international merchandise trade among various countries.
Eurostat Metadata Standards
Various classification systems for economic activity, used by the European Commission (EC).
International classification system for trademarks. Includes goods and services.