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Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages

QCEW Introduces NAICS 2012 Industry Coding

In an effort to enhance the comparability of industry employment and wage statistics across Mexico, Canada, and the United States, and reflect economic activities within industries more accurately, the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) is revised periodically. In conjunction with its counterparts in Mexico and Canada, the U.S. Office of Management and Budget developed NAICS 2012.

NAICS 2012 Revision At-a-Glance

  • 4 types of revisions
  • 200 industries modified
  • 698,000 establishments revised
  • $73,700,000,000 in total wages affected
  • 12,000,000 in employment reclassified (with 8 million workers in the restaurant industry)


The conversion to NAICS 2012 resulted in revisions reflecting increased detail in the electric power generation industry, increased detail in certain industries within the specialty trade contractors subsector; redefinition of merchant wholesalers of durable goods; consolidation of numerous smaller manufacturing and retail industries into larger ones; and changes to numeric codes of some manufacturing, retail, and food service industries. Several industry titles and descriptions also were updated. This revision was introduced by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) with the release of first quarter 2011 Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW) data. Within private industry, approximately 8 percent of establishments, 11 percent of employment, and 6 percent of total wages were reclassified into different industries as a result of the revision. Some establishments within Federal, State, and local government also changed industry codes as part of the revision. Within government, the revised industries represented 0.2 percent of establishments, 0.1 percent of employment, and 0.1 percent of total wages.

The following statistics describe the effects of the NAICS 2012 transition on the most detailed level of industry detail in NAICS, the 6-digit level. With the introduction of this revision, some industries were merged into new industries, some were merged into preexisting industries, while others were split into two or more industries. Of the 1,193 detailed industries used by BLS under NAICS 2007, 200 industries were affected by the NAICS 2012 revision. As a result of the various changes, the industry count declined to 1,083. A total of 698,000 private establishments with 12.0 million employees and $73.7 billion in total wages changed industries in first quarter 2011 due to this revision. From the perspective of the employment levels of the affected industries, the majority of the changes came from NAICS code number changes in four restaurant industries, which accounted for 486,000 establishments, 8.5 million workers, and $31.0 billion that changed industries as part of the NAICS 2012 revision.

All figures cited are preliminary and all employment figures cited reflect March 2011 data. For further information on the NAICS 2012 revision, including the implementation schedules of other BLS programs, please see the BLS NAICS Web site.

For a detailed comparison of establishment, employment, and wage levels for each industry affected by the NAICS 2012 conversion, please refer to this QCEW 2012 revision table.


Last Modified Date: September 29, 2011