North American Industry Classification System:
Is Byway Coordinating Agency-Specific
Coding Possible?

Including byway-specific codes in the government-based North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) economic impact tracking system may provide byways with an opportunity for tracking, at least in collective terms, the economic impact of those agencies specifically designated by the Federal Highway Administration to promote and coordinate efforts along scenic byways.

What is NAICS?

The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) is a classification system for the collection and dissemination of data based on industries. The classification system is used to provide comparable data across various statistical programs, such as employment data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, output or production data from the Census Bureau, and national accounts data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. The Office of Management and Budget is responsible for the classification and has created the interagency Economic Classification Policy Committee (ECPC) to review and maintain the classification.

The system originated as the SIC system in the 1930s and has been periodically revised or updated to account for new aspects of the American economy and to address deficiencies in the reporting system. The data reported includes such statistics as the number of establishments, sales/receipts, annual payroll, and number of paid employees by type of business (lodging, restaurant, manufacturer, etc.).

NAICS replaced the Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) in 1997. The 1997 Economic Census presented data on a NAICS basis.

The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) identifies industries by a six-digit code. The U.S. has an international agreement with Canada and Mexico that fixes the first five digits as standard for all three countries. The sixth digit identifies industry subdivisions as appropriate for the individual countries. Without a code specific to an industry or a subdivision of an industry, that area of economic activity is lost within larger, more generalized categories, e.g., “business services not elsewhere classified.” There is currently no provision for byway organizations.

What is the Availability of a NAICS Code for Byway Organizations?

The byway community participating in the Sustainability roundtables organized by Seaway Trail, Inc. in late 2004 suggested that byways explore the options for byway-specific coding, i.e., to obtain a NAICS industry code that would recognize byway organizations as an industry similar to, but separated, from Conventions and Visitors Bureaus.

Open numbers for such classification exist between 561591, designating Convention and Visitors Bureaus (CVBs), and 561599 for All Other Travel Arrangement and Reservation Services. The description for Byway Organizations might read similar to the NAICS description for CVBs, with some minor adjustments in language. For example:

561592 Byway Organizations - this number is proposed for consideration by the Bureau of Census.

This U.S. industry comprises establishments primarily engaged in marketing and promoting America’s byways and the related byway communities and facilities to travelers through a range of activities, such as providing travel information on area attractions, lodging accommodations, restaurants and other sites and services; providing maps; and organizing byway-based events, such as tours of local historical, cultural, and recreational attractions.


The next revision of NAICS will be completed for 2012. The comment period is not expected to open until 2008. See How


It is suggested that the byway organizations that would like to explore the opportunity for a byway organizations’ code within the NAICS system meet collectively to develop a grassroots campaign to request such a code. A collective byways’ task force could also brainstorm and analyze all the government-based and other measurement options that may be available, including government-based surveys, for measuring the economic impact of byways. Support from federal legislators would also be helpful to the effort.

Requests for a byway-specific NAICS code should be directed to John Murphy, Chair, Economic Classification Policy Committee, Bureau of the Census, Room 2641-3, Washington, DC 20233, tel: 301-763-5172, fax: 301-457-1343, e-mail: Mr. Murphy is the person to whom requests for changes to the 2007 NAICS system were directed during the past comment period.

Fax or email communication is recommended due to the slow transit time of mail sent through the government’s security screening system.

Why Byway-Specific NAICS Coding:

• To have a nationally-accepted, standardized system for collecting byway coordinating agency-specific economic activity

• Long-term efforts also need to be undertaken to review public, private and academic sources to measure overall economic impact data from businesses located along byways


North American Industry Classification System

Federal Register Notice re: Updates for NAICS 2007 (PDF) – background on NAICS 2002 and the process for suggesting new and emerging industries identification.

This project was funded in part by a
Federal Highway Administration grant.
Copyright Seaway Trail Inc.
Reprint permission granted upon request to:
Seaway Trail, Inc.
PO Box 660
Sackets Harbor, NY 13685