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Understanding Industry Codes:
Standard Industrial Classification System (SIC)
"A statistical classification system that is used to group companies by industry and sub-industry groups. The purpose is to make industry and governmental statistics comparable to each other. The SIC system is in the process of being replaced by a new system, the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS). The new system was developed jointly by the United States, Canada, and Mexico."
Standard Industrial Classification Code (SIC Code). (2003). In Webster's New World Finance and Investment Dictionary. Retrieved from Credo Reference.
North American Industry Classification System (NAICS)
"The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS, pronounced Nakes) was developed under the direction and guidance of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) as the standard for use by Federal statistical agencies in classifying business establishments for the collection, tabulation, presentation, and analysis of statistical data describing the U.S. economy. Use of the standard provides uniformity and comparability in the presentation of these statistical data. 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. NAICS replaced the Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) system in 1997."
From the U.S. Census Bureau: http://www.census.gov/eos/www/naics/faqs/faqs.html#q1