Industry Classification SystemsNAICS and SICOther Classification Codes
Industry profilesIndustry statisticsIndustry ratios
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Industry Information  

Last Updated: May 28, 2014 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

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This guide will help you in finding resources for industry information. Use the tabs above to find specific types of resources (articles, books, etc.). If you need any help check out the help links to contact a librarian.

Below are my top picks for getting started on researching an industry. Sorry, the first one is print only ...

Standard & Poor's Industry Surveys (Ref HC 106.6 .S74)


Getting started

If you're new to industry research, here's a quick question to ask about your industry (or your product):

What is the NAICS or SIC code for it?

So what are those codes?
   And what are they for?
      Are there other codes you may need to know about?

Knowing whether or not there is an industry classification code specific to your industry or product will often help you know where to look for information about your company, and how much information you can expect to find. See below for more explanation ...


Industry Classification Codes

What are they?

They are numeric codes, usually 2-6 digits in length.

What do they do?

They are keys to descriptions and definitions for an industry or product.  

What are they used for?

They are used for the collection, organization and publication of data about an industry. 

For more information, click here.



For the US, you'll mostly encounter these two code systems ...

SIC (Standard Industrial Classification System)

First published in 1940, updated roughly every ten years until 1987, when it was updated for the last time.  In 1997 it was replaced mostly by NAICS.  (Mostly means as far as the federal government is concerned.  Some commercial publishers still use it, so you'll still see codes from both systems.)

NAICS (North American Industry Classification System)

Introduced in 1997, used by the US, Canada and Mexico.  The acronym is usually pronounced 'nayx'. 

For more information about these classification systems, click here.


Other Classification Systems

International Industry Classification Systems

Other countries and international organizations have also produced classification systems.  The UN (United Nations) uses ISIC, and the EU (European Union) uses NACE.

Trade or Commodity Classification Systems

Where industry classification systems focus on production process and activity, these trade or commodity systems focus instead on the form in which products are traded.  The UN maintains the SITC, and the WCO (World Customs Organization) has created the Harmonized System, which forms the basis of classification codes used in many countries.

Trade (or Commodity) Classification in the US

For imports into the US, there's the HTS or HTSUSA.  For exports, there is Schedule B: Statistical Classification of Domestic and Foreign Commodities Exported from the United States.

For more information, please click here.

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