Standard Industrial Classification is a system of codes that cover all types of American businesses. Compiled by the U.S. government, the standard industrial classification code applies a four-digit number to a given industry for statistical research and categorization.
Commonly known as SIC codes or SIC, industrial classification listings are mostly utilized by researchers, employers, government agencies and those in human resources. In 2003, the standard industrial classification code was replaced with the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS), but the SIC code listings are still used. When considering Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) education and training:
1. Realize that SIC code listing manuals exist allow the user to look up any given industry
2. Understand that there is only one standard industrial classification number for each industry
3. Know that the SIC code listing of a business helps track research and understand that business
Discover what SIC information tells the business researcher or ownerBefore applying SIC code information to business analysis or research, it is important to understand exactly what SIC codes are. A little background education will make utilizing the code listings easier as well as allow managers and employers transfer the information to employees.
University of Pittsburgh explains what SIC codes are, provides a brief history of the classification system as well as gives links to additional online information. Illinois State University elaborates on how the government compiles SIC are and their relationship with the newer NAICS code system.
Find SIC codes and SIC listings online to assist with business researchOriginally contained in a hardback book, the industrial classification system is now available online. Established business and government agencies provide an easy-to-use searchable database to help business researchers and statisticians access SIC listing information. Using the online database is a quick way to learn the classification system.
Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) website provides a searchable SIC code database by keyword or SIC code lookup as well as a link to view and understand the structure of the original print version of the data. The NAICS Association offers both a SIC code and an NAICS code searchable database. It also includes an online form to request a code for a business.
Comparing SIC codes with NAICs codes help businesses stay informed with changing systemsEven though some companies and government websites still utilize the original SIC code listings, most are now using the longer NAICS codes. For some time, companies will continue to use them side-by-side and it's important for the small business owner to educate themselves on where they stand and how to find their business under each system.
U.S. Census Bureau places tables side by side and offer instructions in how to compare. The Washington State Department of Revenue explains how to compare the two code databases as well as points out important differences between the two systems.
- You can purchase the 1997 SIC code directory cheaply on online auction sites or in second hand bookstores, offering a more hands on guide for the more traditional researcher.