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The way in which the U.S. government collects economic statistics on industry changed January 1, 1997 under the new North American Industry Classification System (NAICS). The NAICS, which replaced the current Standard Industrial Classification (SIC), will facilitate the collection, tabulation, presentation and analysis of data regarding industrial statistics. It also promotes the uniformity and comparability of statistics in the United States, Mexico and Canada, as well as the latest revision of the United Nations' International Standard Industrial Classification. Starting in 2002, government statistics will be presented using NAICS rather than SIC.
The SIC, which had been largely unchanged since its inauguration in 1945, was widely viewed as outdated and not reflective of changes in industry, technology and services in recent decades. The NAICS seeks to take into consideration business advancements in recent years and the view that international economies are becoming increasingly interrelated. In addition, the NAICS is the first industry classification system based on the principle that production units that use similar processes should be grouped together.