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Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages

BLS and QCEW NAICS Differences

There are a handful of differences between the industries shown in the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) manual and the BLS Industry Finder application. This page explains these differences.

BLS-Only NAICS Codes

For the specialty trade contractor industries (NAICS 238), BLS uses six-digit NAICS codes ending in “1” for residential construction units and “2” for nonresidential construction units, instead of “0.”  These six-digit NAICS codes do not appear in the NAICS Manual, but the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages program uses them, and they appear in the BLS Industry Finder application. To calculate the employment and wages of specialty trade contractors without the residential and nonresidential distinctions, simply combine the information for codes ending with "1" and "2." The BLS-only specialty trade contractor NAICS codes are the following:

238111       Residential poured foundation contractors

238112       Nonresidential poured foundation contractors

238121       Residential structural steel contractors

238122       Nonresidential structural steel contractors

238131       Residential framing contractors

238132       Nonresidential framing contractors

238141       Residential masonry contractors

238142       Nonresidential masonry contractors

238151       Residential glass and glazing contractors

238152       Nonresidential glass and glazing contractors

238161       Residential roofing contractors

238162       Nonresidential roofing contractors

238171       Residential siding contractors

238172       Nonresidential siding contractors

238191       Other residential exterior contractors

238192       Other nonresidential exterior contractors

238211       Residential electrical contractors

238212       Nonresidential electrical contractors

238221       Residential plumbing and HVAC contractors

238222       Nonresidential plumbing and HVAC contractors

238291       Other residential equipment contractors

238292       Other nonresidential equipment contractors

238311       Residential drywall contractors

238312       Nonresidential drywall contractors

238321       Residential painting contractors

238322       Nonresidential painting contractors

238331       Residential flooring contractors

238332       Nonresidential flooring contractors

238341       Residential tile and terrazzo contractors

238342       Nonresidential tile and terrazzo contractors

238351       Residential finish carpentry contractors

238352       Nonresidential finish carpentry contractors

238391       Other residential finishing contractors

238392       Other nonresidential finishing contractors

238911       Residential site preparation contractors

238912       Nonresidential site preparation contractors

238991       All other residential trade contractors

238992       All other nonresidential trade contractors

Invalid NAICS Codes in the United States

There are two NAICS codes included in the NAICS 2022 manual that are not used in the United States. States are not to assign the following NAICS codes:

112130       Dual purpose cattle ranching and farming

541120       Offices of notaries

NAICS codes not used by BLS

There is one NAICS code included in the NAICS 2022 manual that is not used by BLS. Establishments that would otherwise be classified in this industry are instead classified in retail trade in electronics and appliance retailers (NAICS 449210) because they meet the established guidelines for retail trade establishments.

517122       Agents of wireless telecommunications services

Unclassified Industries (999999) 

All establishments are required to have a 6-digit industry code. However, in some instances, there is no information about the economic activity related to a specific establishment. This could be due to timing, lack of information, or resources. In these cases, BLS assigns a “placeholder” industry code to include the establishment in data totals, as well as including the establishment in the BLS/QCEW sampling universe, until a specific industry code can be matched with the establishment. BLS assigns “999999” as a placeholder for active establishments without information about economic activities until a code can be assigned.

QCEW High-Level (Non-NAICS) Industry Designations

To create higher-level (more general) categories of industry data, and to provide more information for researchers using BLS data, BLS and QCEW created “High-Level” or “Supersector/Domain” industry codes above the NAICS coding structure. These aggregations combine 2-digit NAICS codes of like concepts into larger groupings for "goods-producing" industries and "service-providing" industries.

Information about these BLS-specific industry designations, which can be seen in the BLS Industry Finder, is available at QCEW High-Level Industry Titles and NAICS Crosswalk.

For More Information:

Last Modified Date: July 24, 2023