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What are NAICS Codes?

Business data like:

  • selected revenue/expense items
  • balance sheet
  • financial ratios
  • and profitable vs. non-profitable business

can be found using a combination of the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) which:

  • Covers the economies of the US, Canada, and Mexico
  • Allows for the creation, classification, and analysis of industry statistics

and Industry Canada databases. Businesses listed in NAICS are assigned a NAICS code.

When Do the Codes Change?

NAICS codes can change every 5 years. We are currently using the 2017 version, with the next version scheduled for 2022.

Where Can I find Them?

NAICS codes are free to search through many websites, or through databases like IBISWorld.

How Does the NAICS System Work?

  • Economy is split into 20 sectors (2 digit level)
  • Subsector (3 digit level)
  • Industry group (4 digit level)
  • NAICS industry (5 digit level)
  • National industry (6 digit)
  • The longer the NAICS code, the more specific it is

Diagram illustrating NAICS code levels from broad to specific.

Why Would I Use a NAICS Code?

  • Places your existing business or idea within a national economy
  • Allows for the use of essential statistics and accurate industry research
  • Make informed decisions and statements in your assignments

Other Notes

  • It can be hard to find a perfect and specific NAICS code, especially for new business ideas
  • A business or idea may fall within multiple NAICS codes
  • Once you have a NAICS code, you can use it to research at Assiniboine in databases like IBISWorld and EBSCOhost



U.S. Census Bureau. (2017, December 13). NAICS [Video]. YouTube.

How to Find Statistics Using NAICS Codes

  1. Click the NAICS link below and enter your search words in the search box.

Picture of NAICS Code Keyword Search 

Not every business idea will have its own NAICS code. Some may fall under multiple codes, and some business ideas are too new to exist in the database. You have to choose the code that best describes your idea.


  1. Once you have the NAICS code for your business, click the link below. 
This report only lists data from 2015. To look at trends for your business, go to Open Canada for Financial Performance Data from 2012 to 2015.

  1. Click the Create a report button.
  2. Choose the options you'd like to include in your report.
  3. Enter the NACIS code for your business in the search box at the bottom of the page and click the Search button.
  4. From the search result list, select the business that matches your code and click the Create report button.

Use your NAICS code in EBSCOhost to find articles related to your business.

Keep in mind these articles won't give you the statistics you get from Statistics Canda, but they may provide insight into your business.


  1. Open an EBSCOhost search by clicking the link below - you may be prompted to login. User your college username (e.g. shakespearew) and password
  1. Enter the following in the EBSCOhost search box:

IC "Your NAICS Number" (e.g. IC "311811")

Not every NAICS code will relate to an article. Also, Canada-specific codes may not return results in EBSCOhost.
  1. A list of articles related to your NAICS code will display. Click on the titles of the articles you'd like to read.