Structure of NAICS Codes

The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) uses a process-oriented conceptual framework to group establishments into industries according to the activity in which they are primarily engaged. Establishments using similar raw material inputs, similar capital equipment, and similar labor are classified in the same industry. In other words, establishments that do similar things in similar ways are classified together.  The structure of NAICS is hierarchical.

NAICS classifies all economic activities into 20 sectors. The first two digits of the structure designate the NAICS sectors that represent general categories of economic activities. 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).There are twenty sectors included in the NAICS. All sectors, except for 11 and 92, are covered by the economic census.

Brief Description of the NAICS Sectors

11 - Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Hunting - Growing crops, raising animals, harvesting timber, and harvesting fish and other animals from farms, ranches, or the animals' natural habitats. 

21 - Mining, Quarrying, and Oil and Gas Extraction - Extracting naturally occurring mineral solids, such as coal and ore; liquid minerals, such as crude petroleum; and gases, such as natural gas; and beneficiating (e.g., crushing, screening, washing, and flotation) and other preparation at the mine site, or as part of mining activity. 

22 - Utilities - Generating, transmitting, and/or distributing electricity, gas, steam, and water and removing sewage through a permanent infrastructure of lines, mains, and pipe. 

23 - Construction - Activities of this sector are erecting buildings and other structures (including additions); heavy construction other than buildings; and alterations, reconstruction, installation, and maintenance and repairs.

31-33 - Manufacturing - Mechanical, physical, or chemical transformation of materials, substances, or components into new products. 

42 - Wholesale Trade - Selling or arranging for the purchase or sale of goods for resale; capital or durable nonconsumer goods; and raw and intermediate materials and supplies used in production, and providing services incidental to the sale of the merchandise. 

44-45 - Retail Trade - Retailing merchandise generally in small quantities to the general public and providing services incidental to the sale of the merchandise. 

48-49 - Transportation and Warehousing - Providing transportation of passengers and cargo, warehousing and storing goods, scenic and sightseeing transportation, and supporting these activities. 

51 - Information - Distributing information and cultural products, providing the means to transmit or distribute these products as data or communications, and processing data. 

52 - Finance and Insurance - Creation, liquidation, or change in ownership of financial assets (financial transactions) and/or facilitating financial transactions. 

53 - Real Estate and Rental and Leasing - Renting, leasing, or otherwise allowing the use of tangible or intangible assets (except copyrighted works), and providing related services. 

54 - Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services - Performing professional, scientific, and technical services for the operations of other organizations. 

55 - Management of Companies and Enterprises - Holding of securities of companies and enterprises, for the purpose of owning controlling interest or influencing their management decisions, or administering, overseeing, and managing other establishments of the same company or enterprise and normally undertaking the strategic or organizational planning and decision-making role of the company or enterprise. 

56 - Administrative and Support and Waste Management and Remediation Services - Performing routine support activities for the day-to-day operations of other organizations. 

61 - Educational Services - Providing instruction and training in a wide variety of subjects. 

62 - Health Care and Social Assistance - Providing health care and social assistance for individuals.

71 - Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation - Operating or providing services to meet varied cultural, entertainment, and recreational interests of their patrons. 

72 - Accommodation and Food Services - Providing customers with lodging and/or preparing meals, snacks, and beverages for immediate consumption. 

81 - Other Services (except Public Administration) - Providing services not elsewhere specified, including repairs, religious activities, grantmaking, advocacy, laundry, personal care, death care, and other personal services. 

92 - Public Administration - Administration, management, and oversight of public programs by Federal, State, and local governments.

NAICS 2017 Structure Table

Sector Code Title Subsectors
Industry Groups
NAICS Industries
6-digit Industries
U.S. DetailSame as 5-digitTotal
11 Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Hunting 5 19 42 3232 64
21 Mining, Quarrying, and Oil and Gas Extraction 3 5 11 24 4 28
22 Utilities 1 3 6 10 4 14
23 Construction 3 10 28 4 27 31
31-33 Manufacturing 21 86 180 265 95 360
42 Wholesale Trade 3 19 71 0 71 71
44-45 Retail Trade 12 27 57 17 49 66
48-49 Transportation and Warehousing 11 29 42 25 32 57
52Finance and Insurance51131152641
53Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services3817111324
54Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services1935202949
55Management of Companies and Enterprises111303
56Administrative and Support and Waste Management and Remediation Services21129251944
61Educational Services171271017
62Health Care and Social Assistance41830162339
71Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation392332225
72Accommodation and Food Services26108715
81Other Services (except Public Administration)41430301949
92Public Administration882902929


About the NAICS Structure

The North American Industry Classification System is unique among industry classifications in that it is constructed within a single conceptual framework. Economic units that have similar production processes are classified in the same industry. NAICS uses a supply-based, or production-oriented economic concept.  This is because an industry classification system is a framework for collecting and publishing information on both inputs and outputs, for statistical uses that require that inputs and outputs be used together and be classified consistently. Some examples of uses include:

  • measuring productivity, unit labor costs, and the capital intensity of production
  • estimating employment-output relationships
  • constructing input-output tables
  • other uses that imply the analysis of production relationships in the economy. 

The classification concept for NAICS leads to production of data that facilitate such analyses. In the design of NAICS, attention was given to developing production-oriented classifications for:

(a) new and emerging industries, 
(b) service industries in general, and 
(c) industries engaged in the production of advanced technologies.

These same areas of special emphasis account for many of the differences between the structure of NAICS and the structures of industry classification systems in use elsewhere. NAICS provides enhanced industry comparability among the three North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) trading partners (U.S.A, Canada, and Mexico), while also increasing compatibility with the two-digit level of the International Standard Industrial Classification (ISIC, Rev. 4) of the United Nations. 

NAICS Sector Key Features

The 20 NAICS Industry Sectors are grouped according to the production criterion. Key features are as follows:

NAICS Information Sector - Groups industries that primarily create and disseminate a product subject to copyright. This sector brings together those activities that transform information into a commodity that is produced and distributed, and activities that provide the means for distributing those products, other than through traditional wholesale-retail distribution channels. Industries included in this sector are:

  • Telecommunications
  • Broadcasting
  • Newspaper, book, and periodical publishing
  • Motion picture and sound recording industries
  • Libraries
  • Other information services

NAICS Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services - Comprises establishments engaged in activities where human capital is the major input. The industries within this sector are each defined by the expertise and training of the service provider. This sector includes industries such as:

  • Offices of lawyers
  • Engineering services
  • Architectural services
  • Advertising agencies
  • Interior design services

NAICS Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation -  Includes a wide range of establishments that operate facilities or provide services to meet varied cultural, entertainment, and recreational interests of their patrons.

NAICS Health Care and Social Assistance - Recognizes the merging of the boundaries of health care and social assistance. The industries in this sector are arranged in an order that reflects the range and extent of health care and social assistance provided. Some important industries are: 

  • Family planning centers
  • Outpatient mental health and substance abuse centers
  • Continuing care retirement communities

NAICS Manufacturing Sector - An important subsector, Computer and Electronic Product Manufacturing, brings together industries producing electronic products and their components. The manufacturers of computers, communications equipment, and semiconductors, for example, are grouped into the same subsector because of the inherent technological similarities of their production processes, and the likelihood that these technologies will continue to converge in the future. NAICS acknowledges the importance of these electronic industries, their rapid growth over the past several decades and the likelihood that these industries will, in the future, become even more important in the economies of the three North American countries. 

This NAICS structure reflects the levels at which data comparability was agreed upon by the three countries' statistical agencies. The boundaries of all the sectors of NAICS are delineated. The United States has adopted the revised classification in their statistical programs for the reference year beginning in 2017.

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