Three-country comparability of the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) 2002

NAICS 2002 has a five-digit classification structure, with a six-digit for national industries. With some important exceptions, it provides a set of standard 5-digit industries that describe the industrial structure and composition of the Canadian, United States and Mexican economies at selected levels of aggregation where agreement occurred among the three countries on a compatible classification. Below the agreed-upon level of compatibility each country has added additional detailed six-digit industries, as necessary to meet national needs, provided that this additional detail aggregates to the NAICS level. Exceptions to the rule of five-digit industry level NAICS compatibility are shown below in a table.

Exceptions to the rule of five-digit industry level NAICS 2002 comparability
NAICS level ends at:
2-digit Sector Wholesale Trade;
Retail Trade; and
Public Administration.
3-digit Subsector * Waste Management and Remediation Services;
Credit Intermediation and Related Activities;
Personal and Laundry Services; and
Religious, Grantmaking, Civic, Professional and other Similar Organisations.
4-digit Industry Group Finance (except subsector 522), and Insurance: Real Estate

* Subsector 526 in Finance is a NAICS Canada subsector only.

Accordingly, each country has its own NAICS manual, called respectively:

  • NAICS Canada 2002
  • NAICS United States 2002
  • SCIAN Mexico 2002

Separate agreements providing for detailed industry comparability between Canada and the United States were reached for the utilities; retail trade; and finance and insurance sectors.

Differences in NAICS 2002 Manuals

Classes below the NAICS level are specific to each country and do not show up in the other countries' NAICS Manuals. Difference between these codes in NAICS Canada, NAICS US, and SCIAN Mexico reflect:

  1. differences in relative size which allows for more national industry detail in selected sectors (e.g., Manufacturing in the United States)
  2. classes which are analytically important to one country for cultural, economic or institutional reasons (e.g., Cultural Industries in Canada)
  3. detail each country has chosen to fill in the classification below the NAICS level.
  4. limited time and resources available for developing NAICS.

In many cases, the national detail in the NAICS Canada and NAICS US Manuals are similar. Note that residual 6-digit classes can end in either and 8 or a 9. Within each sector, the country with the larger number of 6-digit classes identified their residual classes with a code ending in 9. As a rule, the 6-digit classes of the three countries carry the same code when they refer to similar industries and different codes when they refer to different industries. However, in rare instances, when the combined number of Canadian and US 6-digit classes exceeded 10, this resulted in an identical code for classes with a different content. There are only 3 such cases, viz:

Identical codes for classes with a different content
NAICS Canada 2002 Code NAICS US 2002
Other Printing 323119 Other Commercial Printing
All Other Miscellaneous Fabricated Metal Product Manufacturing 332999 All Other Miscellaneous Fabricated Metal Product Manufacturing
Measuring, Medical and Controlling Devices Manufacturing 334512 Automatic Environmental Control Manufacturing for Residential, Commercial, and Appliance Use

In the published paper version (12-501-XPE), comparable NAICS classes are identified by using the following superscripts:

Comparable NAICS classes are identified by using the following superscripts.
Symbol Explanation
CAN Canadian industry only
MEX Canadian and Mexican industries are comparable
US Canadian and United States industries are comparable
[Blank] [No superscript symbol] Canadian, Mexican and United States industries are comparable.

Comparable NAICS classes can be viewed here by cliking on the NAICS Sector Codes.