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Economic Census: NAICS Codes & Understanding Industry Classification Systems

Industry Classification

The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) is the standard used by Federal statistical agencies in classifying business establishments for the purpose of collecting, analyzing, and publishing statistical data related to the U.S. business economy. It was developed to allow for a high level of comparability in business statistics among the three North American countries. NAICS is based on a production-oriented concept, meaning that it groups establishments into industries according to similarity in the processes used to produce goods or services.

In this Section

  1. NAICS Structure
  2. Sector Definitions
  3. Codes Not Covered
  4. Additional information on NAICS is available at: https://www.census.gov/naics

NAICS Structure

NAICS uses a hierarchical structure. A "hierarchy" is the relationship of one item to a particular category.

The organization of NAICS is as follows:

  • Sector: 2-digit code
    • Subsector: 3-digit code
      • Industry Group: 4-digit code
        • NAICS Industry: 5-digit code
          • National Industry: 6-digit code

Note: Three sectors are represented by a range of 2-digit codes. These include Manufacturing (31-33), Retail Trade (44-45) and Transportation and Warehousing (48-49).


Level NAICS Code Title
Sector 44-45 Retail Trade
Subsector 441 Motor Vehicle and Parts Dealer
Industry Group 4412 Other Motor Vehicle Dealers
NAICS Industry 44122 Motorcycle, Boat, and Other Motor Vehicle Dealers
National Industry 441222 Boat Dealers

Note: Some Economic Census tables also display data at the 7- and 8-digit levels. Although these codes are NAICS-based codes, they are not included in the official classification system.

Sector Definitions

There are twenty sectors included in the NAICS. All sectors, except 92, have full or part representation in the economic census.

Sector Description
11 Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Hunting
21 Mining, Quarrying, and Oil and Gas Extraction
22 Utilities
23 Construction
31-33 Manufacturing
42 Wholesale Trade
44-45 Retail Trade
48-49 Transportation and Warehousing
51 Information
52 Finance and Insurance
53 Real Estate and Rental and Leasing
54 Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services
55 Management of Companies and Enterprises
56 Administrative and Support and Waste Management and Remediation Services
61 Educational Services
62 Health Care and Social Assistance
71 Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation
72 Accommodation and Food Services
81 Other Services (except Public Administration)
92 Public Administration (not covered in economic census)

Codes Not Covered

The following NAICS codes are not covered in the economic census.

Those industries marked with "CBP" are included in County Business Patterns and in Statistics of U.S. Businesses, which both use NAICS.

NAICS Industry categories excluded from the economic census Coverage in CBP
11 Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Hunting (The 2022 Economic Census includes NAICS 1151 Support Activities for Crop Production and NAICS 1152 Support Activities for Animal Production.) CBP (except 111,112)
Crop Production
Animal Production and Aquaculture
Forestry and Logging  
114 Fishing, Huning, and Trapping  
1153 Support Activities for Forestry  
482 Rail Transportation  
491 Postal Service  
525 Funds, Trusts, and Other Financial Vehicles CBP (except 5251, 52592)
6111 Elementary and Secondary Schools CBP (private schools only)
6112 Junior Colleges CBP (private schools only)
6113 Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools CBP (private schools only)
8131 Religious Organizations CBP
81393 Labor Unions and Similar Labor Organizations CBP
81394 Political Organizations CBP
814 Private Households  
92 Public Administration  

Exclusion of Government-Owned Establishments

The economic census does not generally include government-owned establishments, even when their primary activity would be classified in industries covered by the economic census. Because of these exclusions, economic census data for industries in many sectors might appear to be incomplete.

Sector Illustrative Governmental Activities Excluded
Utilities Public electric, gas, water and sewer utilities
Construction Highway construction performed by government employees
Retail Trade Post exchanges, ship stores and similar establishments operated on military posts by agencies of the federal government
Transportation and Warehousing Publicly-operated buses and subway systems
Information Public libraries
Administrative and Support and Waste Management and Remediation Services Municipal trash removal
Health Care and Social Assistance Municipal ambulance services and County or city nursing care services
Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation Public museums or zoos

In addition, certain industries dominated by government activity are excluded from the scope of the economic census.

At the same time, exceptions have been made to include certain governmental activities in the economic census:

  • Hospitals
  • Government-owned liquor stores
  • University press publishers
  • Federal Reserve Banks

In addition, the economic census does include the activities of private contractors that may be carrying out governmental functions on contract. For example:

  • Highway construction contractors
  • Privately operated prisons
  • Private firms contracting to provide services to government
  • Government-owned/contractor-operated (GOCO) plants

There is a separate Census of Governments, which provides some data on revenue, expenditures, and employment for various governmental functions, such as streets and highways, solid waste management, sewerage, electric power, transit, and local libraries. At the same time, these data are not reported on an establishment basis and are not classified by NAICS.

Page Last Revised - August 19, 2022
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