The Federal government classifies manufacturing and service industries and assigns each a code number in order to promote the comparability of statistics. NAICS (North American Industry Classification System) codes were adopted in 1997 to replace the old Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) system. The codes can be searched using online databases and web resources to locate specific industry information.
Industry codes have been revised over the years and some code numbers have changed. It is important to be careful when comparing data from different publishers and over a long period of time. Beginning with the 1997 Economic Census, the Census Bureau began using a new North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS) (pronounced "nakes") which is more closely aligned with international codes. Many commercial publications have converted to NAICS, but some still use SIC codes.