Finding NAICS Codes


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NAICS (pronounced "nakes") stands for North American Industry Classification System.


It's the standard for classifying business establishments and it groups them according to similarity in the processes used to produce goods or services.

All industries will have at least one associated NAICS code.

What do the digits mean?

1 of 3NAICS is a two- through six-digit system with five levels of detail. Each digit is part of a series of progressively narrower categories. Additional digits in the code signify greater classification detail.


What do the digits mean?

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A complete and valid NAICS code contains six digits:

  • First two digits = the industry sector
  • 3rd digit = industry subsector
  • 4th digit = industry group
  • 5th digit = industry
  • 6th digit = national industry

What do the digits mean?

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The 5-digit NAICS code is the level at which there is comparability in code and definitions for most of the NAICS sectors across the three countries participating in NAICS (the United States, Canada, and Mexico).


The 6-digit level allows for the United States, Canada, and Mexico to have country-specific detail.

What is an example?

Here's an example of different levels of NAICS codes and their meanings:
  • 72: Accommodation and Food Services (sector)
  • 722: Food Services & Drinking Places (subsector)
  • 7225: Restaurants and Other Eating Places (group)
  • 72251: Restaurants and Other Eating Places (industry)
  • 722514: Cafeterias, Grill Buffets, and Buffets (national industry)

As you can see, the description becomes more specific with each digit.

More than one NAICS code?

Many companies have diverse business activities. For example, General Mills manufactures products from cereal to ice cream, so it'll have several 6-digit NAICS codes to represent these different business activities.

Your product or service may fit into more than one industry, so you may have more than one NAICS code that describes it.

What are SIC codes?

SIC is the Standard Industrial Classification system. NAICS replaced SIC in 1997. Other organizations and state/local agencies might continue to use the SIC for their own purposes.

To find SIC codes and their descriptions, visit the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) website.

To learn more about the differences between the original 1997 NAICS and SIC codes, visit the NAICS website.

Practice finding a NAICS code

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Meet Julia...

             woman in a field

She's interested in starting a vegan, raw, fast-food restaurant. She wants to conduct some research to see what she's up against.

You're going to help Julia out by finding the industry code for fast-food restaurants.

Practice finding a NAICS code

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To your right is the NAICS website.

Your Turn:

  • On this website, enter fast-food in the search box above 2017 NAICS Search.


Practice finding a NAICS code

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What is the NAICS code for fast-food restaurants?

Practice finding a NAICS code

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Your Turn:

  • Click the code link 722513

What is the name of the NAICS industry under which fast-food restaurants fall?

Practice finding a NAICS code

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Which of the following is a characteristic of this industry?


Practice finding a NAICS code

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Notice the variety of businesses that fall under Limited-Service Restaurants.

Which of the following is also considered a Limited-Service Restaurant?

Practice finding a NAICS code

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Julia has also thought about making her restaurant buffet-style. 

Under what NAICS code are buffets? (Note: You can find this information in the Cross-References section of the web page).

Practice finding a NAICS code

8 of 11In addition to researching the fast-food industry, Julia is interested in researching the broader restaurant industry.

The first two digits in a NAICS code refer to the industry sector.

The first three digits refer to the industry subsector.

In order to find out which broader categories an industry belongs to, you can search for just the first two or three digits in a code.

Practice finding a NAICS code

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Which industry subsector (first three digits) includes fast-food restaurants?

Practice finding a NAICS code

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Which industry sector (first two digits) includes fast-food restaurants?

Practice finding a NAICS code

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Congratulations! You've completed this tutorial.

If you need help finding NAICS codes for your particular industry, contact your library liaison (Jason Dewland or Cheryl Cuillier).

Your feedback is important to us. Please let us know if this tutorial was helpful, or if there are improvements we can make.

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