Coding Games – Finding Information for U.S. Micro-Industries

Industries are groups of companies in the same line of business. Points of interest in industry research include financial trends, industry profiles, current and projected environment, major companies and their market share.

NAICS (North American Industrial Classification System) is the standard coding system for defining North American industries. NAICS is a powerful indexing tool used by hundreds of government and commercial databases. It groups natural language industry descriptions into one through six digit hierarchical codes that often allow you to retrieve just the data you want for a specific industry configuration.

But NAICS has its limits. Small or very new industries may not have specific codes. Looking for information about the U.S. Dating Services Industry, for example, will turn up the NAICS code:

81299    “Other Personal Care Services”.

The “9” at the end of the code is a tip-off that this category is for “Not Elsewhere Classified” industries within the larger group of personal care services. In this case, it includes a hodge-podge of services. In addition to dating services, it applies to services including “ear piercing”, “tanning salons”, “tattooing” and “shoe shining”. Continue reading