By Jeff Vedders

Currently, one of the biggest challenges in researching industries is the recent conversion from Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) codes to North American Industry Classification (NAICS) codes.  There are many differences between the new NAICS system and the old SIC system, making conversion difficult.  To further complicate matters, many data sources use the new NAICS code system, while many still use the old SIC system.  

The NAICS system was developed in 1997 and revised in 2002 as a way to classify new industries that did not exist at the time of the last SIC revision, to create a common code between the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, and to allow for emerging industries.

Fortunately, the NAICS Association at has a handy search engine that will convert SIC codes to NAICS codes.  You can also enter a product name, such as plastics, that will also retrieve the relevant NAICS codes.  This search engine can be found at  The association also offers NAICS to SIC conversion tables as well.  There is also a lot of information about NAICS codes, including a helpful NAICS FAQ.