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Business & Management

A research guide for topics in business and management.

What are SIC and NAICs Codes?

Many business databases and other research tools use industry codes to classify and organize industries. SIC/NAICS codes can help you find and compare companies in specific industries.

The SIC Code

The Standard Industrial Classification System(SIC) is a four-digit numerical scheme used to classify businesses according to industry type. Companies in the same industry are assigned the same number or SIC code. For example, General Motors, Ford Motor Corporation, Honda, and Toyota were all assigned the SIC code of 3711.

NAICs Codes

The SIC code has been updated by the six-digit North American Industry Classification System (NAICS code). While the NAICS system is more up-to-date than the SIC system, many databases and agencies still use SIC codes exclusively (including the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Look for both NAICS and SIC codes when doing business research. To convert SIC codes to NAICS codes (or vice versa), use the SIC and NAICS Correspondence Tables.

International Industry Codes

European uses the NACE (Nomenclature of Economic Activities) Code, and the United Nations developed the International Standard Industrial Classification (ISIC). ISIC and NACE have exactly the same items at the highest levels, where NACE is more detailed at lower levels.

Where can I find NAICS codes?

NAICS and other industry code types can often be found listed in the abstract section of industry and company reports in Business Source Ultimate. You can also use the NAICs association to find a specific code. 

Please note: some industry nuances are not captured by current industry codes. Many new "disruptive" industries, like ride sharing apps or electric vehicles, may not have a specific industry code.