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As industry or industry [ bʁãːʃə ] is called in the industry a group of companies that closely related substitutes manufacture. The terms business field and entrepreneurial environment ( strategic management ) are also related to the term industry .


Companies that manufacture similar products , that deal in similar articles ( product ranges ) or that provide similar services ( product classification ) are assigned to an industry . In addition, there is a grouping of companies that use the same manufacturing process ( e.g. construction ) or the same raw materials ( mineral oil processing ), that are grouped into branches of industry , or that belong to the same economic sector within these groups . In some cases, branches of the economy are again combined into larger groups such as the network industry .

Companies are mostly organized at the branch level in local, regional, cantonal, provincial or federal professional associations or a body (chamber) (e.g. Royal Society of Chemistry ), several professional associations / chambers can be combined in an umbrella organization (e.g. the main association of the German retail trade ), collective agreements are mostly concluded at branch level (in Austria, for example, traditionally the first “metal workers”, whose negotiation results set the trend).

This term is also used in telephone books or business directories to make it easier to find producers of certain articles, for example in the yellow pages . The economic sector to which the company can be assigned is also stored under the company number .

Classification of economic sectors

The history of the classification of the economic sectors differs considerably in the individual countries.


The UN International Standard Industrial Classification (ISIC) is the global standard . Over 150 countries around the world use business classifications based either directly or indirectly on the ISIC.


Germany and Austria base their statistics on the agreements within the EU, the statistical system of economic sectors in the European Community (NACE). This is largely based on the ISIC .

In addition to the EU member states, Norway and Switzerland also use NACE-compatible statistics, as do around ten other countries outside the EU or the candidate countries such as Turkey.


Since 1950, the Federal Statistical Office has been classifying companies into so-called branches of industry that is generally applicable for the German economic area. The current classification of economic activities 2008 (WZ 2008) is based on the NACE Rev. 2 and differs significantly from the older tool 79. In addition, for the short-term statistics a more general classification of economic activities used, the MIGs .


ÖNACE (Austrian System of Economic Activities ) is the name of the classification system used in Austria. The current implementation is called ÖNACE 2008 and is based on NACE Rev.2. The takeover fulfills the requirements of § 21 Federal Statistics Law 2000 ( Federal Law Gazette I No. 163/1999 , as amended by Federal Law Gazette I No. 92/2007 ) on the recording of statistical units. Notifications are made in writing and free of charge. The companies are obliged to "help determine the relevant facts for the assignment and to provide the information required for this."


In Switzerland, the first classification of economic sectors was drawn up on the occasion of the business census of 1905. This was revised several times in later years and adapted to the European NACE, Revision 1.1 after February 15, 1995. The system is designated with the abbreviation NOGA , which stands for Nomenclature Générale des Activités économiques . The NOGA system is managed by the Federal Statistical Office and is also used by it in many of its own surveys.

Australia, New Zealand

The Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification is the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification ( ANZSIC ), the two national systems are ASIC and NZSIC. It is also largely based on ISIC Rev. 3 and is easily comparable.

North America

In North America (USA, Canada, Mexico ), however, the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) is common. A comparison is possible at least on the basis of the two-digit numbers of ISIC Rev. 4 / NACE Rev. 2. The Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) was used until 1997, but it is not based on the UN's ISIC.

See also


  • H. Ebensberger: International economic branches and goods systematics and their harmonization . In: Economy and Statistics . No. 2 , 1986, ISSN  0043-6143 , pp. 79-96 .
  • Federal Statistical Office (Ed.): Classification of economic sectors. With explanations . Deutscher Sparkassenverlag, Stuttgart 1994, ISBN 3-09-302137-5 .

Web links

Wiktionary: Business branch  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wiktionary: Industry  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Michael E. Porter: Competitive Strategy. Techniques for analyzing industries and competitors . With a new introduction . Free Press, New York 1998, ISBN 0-684-84148-7 (English, first edition: 1980).
  2. a b eurostat (ed.): NACE Rev. 2 . 132. Other classifications , p. 45 .
  3. Statistics Austria: ÖNACE ( Memento from July 4, 2011 in the Internet Archive ). Classification database → * branches of industry .
  4. Frequently asked questions (FAQ): Is there a legal basis? , Statistics Austria
  5. ^ ÖNACE 2008 - New Classification of Economic Activities ( Memento from September 22, 2008 in the Internet Archive ), Austrian Chamber of Commerce .
  6. ^ ABS website ( memento of March 3, 2000 in the Internet Archive )
  7. NACE Rev. 2 Statistical classification of economic activities in the European Community . Structure and Explanatory Notes . In: eurostat (ed.): Methodologies and Workingpapers . Catalog number: KS-RA-07-015-DE-N, 2008, ISBN 978-92-79-04740-4 , ISSN  1977-0383 , 4.3 Connection with other multinational classifications 131. ANZSIC , p. 19 ( PDF file , PDF file ( Memento from June 8, 2012 in the Internet Archive )
  8. NAICS , US Census; STATCAN , Canada
  9. eurostat (ed.): NACE Rev. 2 . 130. NAICS , pp. 45 .