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Industry Research

Getting Started with Industry Research

Locating all the information for a particular industry can be challenging.  One way to ensure a comprehensive search is to use the NAICS code for the industry you're researching.

NAICS (North American Industry Classification System) was adopted in 1997 as the standard used by Federal agencies to classify business establishments.

Many sources provide information based on these codes. Once you have identified the code for your industry you can use it to search the databases on this guide to find all the information related to the industry.

NAICS Code Tips

Note that codes are arranged from broad categories (2 digit codes) to narrow (6 digit codes)

For instance:

31 - Manufacturing

311 - Food Manufacturing

31111 - Animal Food Manufacturing

311111 - Dog and Cat Food Manufacturing

If you aren't finding much information on a narrow code, try searching the broader industry by removing the last digit.

NOTE: The codes themselves are an accepted standard, but the assigning of codes to companies is not centralized or standardized.  Additionally, companies may have one or more secondary codes for different business segments.  Try using related codes and check multiple sources.

Finding a Company's Code

If you are having trouble determining the NAICS code for an industry, but know a company that is part of that industry, you can use one of the sources below to help you determine the appropriate industry code.

SIC Codes

Prior to 1997, SIC codes were used to classify industries.  If you are conducting historical industry research, try searching with the SIC code as well.

From the US Department of Labor

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