NC Commerce

Labor and Economic Analysis Division, Department of Commerce

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2017 NAICS Release and North Carolina Industries

The United Census Bureau introduced the 2017 North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) structure this year, as is done every five years. The structure used by several countries, states and counties provides a consistent standard for the collection, tabulation and analysis of the economy. NAICS allows for one to one comparison of industry information. The NAICS classification provides a hierarchy of broad classifications (2-digit) to more specific classification at the six-digit level.

The 2017 NAICS structure release includes 99 Subsectors (3-digit), 311 Industry Groups (4-digit), NAICS Industries (5-digit) and 1,057 Industries (6-digit). NAICS code crosswalks and other information can be found on the Census website. When looking at changes occurring in North Carolina, there are several worth noting.

A few changes occurred to existing industries in North Carolina with the release of the 2017 NAICS codes which were implemented with the Q1 2017 QCEW data. These changes will affect how historical series are pulled for certain Industries but will only be seen at the more specific four-digit level and below. Industry changes occurring in North Carolina data from 2012 to 2017 are shown in the table below.


Changes in the Information (51) Sector were a little more complicated. Two NAICS codes previously reporting under 5171(Wired Telecommunications Carriers) and 5172(Wireless Telecommunications Carriers (except Satellite)) were combined and now appear in the 2017 NAICS code, 5173(Wired and Wireless Telecommunications Carriers).  

NAICS code 5173 although new in 2017, this code existed previously in the 2002 NAICS release. If you were to look at the historical data, you would see data for years 2002-2006. With the implementation of the 2007 NAICS codes, 5173 was then absorbed by 5179 Other Telecommunications, this is where data are located for years 2007-2016. With the implementation of the 2017 NAICS data moved from 5179 Telecommunications back to 5173 Wired and Wireless Telecommunications Carriers which also absorbed 5172 and 5171 from 2012 NAICS. See the visual below showing the progression of code changes 2002-2017.



What’s the difference between NAICS codes that have the same name as Department Stores 4522 and 4521? Too see the difference you would have to view the data at the five or six-digit level. North Carolina’s Labor and Economic Analysis Division (LEAD) only publishes data down to the four-digit NAICS code in its applications like Demand Driven Data Delivery (D4) or AccessNC, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), however, does publish North Carolina data to the six-digit level. Why the difference? BLS does not disclose their detailed methodology for suppression to the states, so it would be virtually impossible to reproduce. Suppression and confidentiality of the data are our main priority; LEAD has made the decision to only publish down to the four-digit level to protect the data. You can access the BLS data at the six-digit level here BLS QCEW.

The breakout for NAICS 4529 and NAICS 4523 are below to show the specificity of the breakout NAICS series.


The breakout for NAICS 4521 and NAICS 4522 are below to show the specificity of the breakout NAICS series.



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