Skip to Main Content



The NAICS (North American Industry Classification System) groups establishments into sectors and subsectors, to provide common industry definitions and make data collection and analysis easier.

For example, if we want to understand economic activity in the U.S. tourism industry, we need to know which types of establishments should be included in that industry. The NAICS system helps us do that. 

Each industry category is given its own six-digit code. Knowing your code helps you shape your research in your industry. Look up codes. 

So how can you use NAICS codes in your research? Here is a great explainer.

The NAICS codes are updated every five years. The 2022 NAICS manual provides a thorough overview of the system.





NAICS Sectors and Subcategories

In NAICS there are 20 general sectors, such as Manufacturing, Transportation/Warehousing, and Arts/Entertainment/Recreation. Each sector has subcategories.

For example, Manufacturing has subcategories for glass, food, wood products, pharmaceuticals, textiles, machinery, electronics, etc.

Sometimes the system gets reeeaaallly specific: under food manufacturing, there are separate categories for "Nonchocolate Confectionery Manufacturing", "Chocolate and Confectionery Manufacturing", "Chocolate and Confectionery Manufacturing from Cacao Beans", and "Confectionery Manufacturing from Purchased Chocolate". Wow!