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Definition: North American Industry Classification System


The new NAICS system provides common industry definitions for Canada, Mexico, and the United States to facilitate economic analyses that cover the economies of the three North American countries. 

The development of NAICS was based on the following principles: (1) NAICS has been erected on a production-oriented, or supply-based, conceptual framework. This means that producing units that use identical or similar production processes are grouped together; (2) The system gives special attention to developing production-oriented classifications for (a) new and emerging industries, (b) service industries in general, and (c) industries engaged in the production of advanced technologies; 3) Time series continuity is maintained to the extent possible; 4) The system strives for compatibility with the 2-digt level of the International Standard Industrial Classification of All Economic Activities (ISIC, Rev.3) of the United Nations.

The USA, Canada and Mexico have developed national versions of NAICS.