How Do You Look up NAICS Codes?


Quick Answer

For a business owner to determine the correct NAICS code for his company, he can utilize the search feature at the Census Bureau's website. Alternately, he can review the entire structure of the 2012 NAICS system with codes and titles.

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Full Answer

To use the search feature, the owner enters a keyword that best describes the central activity of the business. The result is a list of all 6-digit NAICS codes with that keyword. However, businesses do not actually choose their NAICS code, and there is no official system for assigning the classification code. Various governmental agencies utilize the coding system for their own needs and assign a code based on surveys or forms provided by the business. As such, there is no formal process for changing the code for a specific business. If a business owner believes his code has been assigned incorrectly, the Census Bureau suggests he contact the agency that assigned the code.

In addition, the Census Bureau cannot release information about the NAICS code of a specific business to individuals. Private research firms, such as NAICS Association, do sell NAICS data, although the Census Bureau does not vouch for its authenticity.

The NAICS system of categorizing business establishments is primarily used as a method for collecting, tabulating, presenting and analyzing statistical data about the U.S. economy. Businesses are grouped into industries similar in how they produce goods and services. Each digit of the six-number code has a meaning that becomes narrower in scope. The first two digits designates the business' economic sector, and the sixth digit designates the national industry.

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