North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes (pronounced "nakes" codes) are helpful when searching business databases. An industry can have more than one NAICS code. The longer the code, the more specific it is. For example:
722513 — Fast-food restaurants
7225 — Restaurants and other eating places
722 — Food services and drinking places
72 — Accommodation and food services
NAICS categories don't distinguish between small and large business, or between for-profit and non-profit.
See the tutorials on the Get Started tab of this course guide for quick lessons on how to use these powerful tools:
The U.S. Economic Census is done every 5 years, for years ending in "2" and "7." The most recent data are from 2012.
See the Economic Census: Industry Snapshots.
To see Industry Snapshots, enter a NAICS code in the search box (713940 for gyms, for example). Industry Snapshots provide key statistics such as:
Inside a snapshot, there's also a Compare Your Business link, where you can get comparisons to industry averages. (Look for the magnifying glass in the upper right of the snapshot.)
County Business Patterns provide economic data by industry. Data include the number of establishments, employment, first quarter payroll, and annual payroll.
For information on businesses without paid employees (e.g., sole proprietorships), see Nonemployer Statistics. Data consist of the number of businesses and total receipts by industry.