Development of the ÖNACE 2008

General information

NACE Rev. 2, the revised classification of economic activities that will supersede NACE Rev. 1.1, will be applied throughout the European Union as of 1 January 2008. As with previous NACE versions, there will again be a national Austrian version of the new NACE Rev. 2 classification.

The name ÖNACE 2008 has been selected as the title of this national version. The name given is therefore in line with the existing Austrian tradition of including the year of introduction in the name of national classifications (see, for example, ÖNACE 2003 or ÖNACE 1995).

Common German titles and explanatory notes for NACE Rev. 2

Experts from the German Federal Statistical Office in Wiesbaden, the Swiss Federal Statistical Office, the Statistical Office of Luxembourg and Statistics Austria have collaborated on a common German version of the titles and explanatory notes for NACE Rev. 2. These titles and explanatory notes also served as a basis for the formulation of the titles and explanatory notes for ÖNACE 2008.

Working group on economic nomenclature

For the development of ÖNACE 2008, the working group on the statistical nomenclature of economic activities, part of the special advisory subcommittee for registers and classifications, held meetings at regular intervals in which the work on and objectives of the national classification were discussed. The working group was composed of experts from the federal ministries, the Federal Economic Chamber, a wide variety of professional associations and interest groups, and Statistics Austria.

Structure of ÖNACE 2008

In the past, the structure of ÖNACE was intended to be displayed in more detail and thus subdivided due to the further specification of classes in NACE Rev. 2 into national subclasses (in accordance with national requirements). However, during the development of these subclasses it was considered important that the subclasses should only be created in those areas that correspond to particular relevance criteria.

Since the new classification of economic activities, NACE Rev. 2, is a full-scale revision of the previous version, Statistics Austria suggested critically examining the existing national subclasses with a view to establishing whether the existence of each subclass is still of economic relevance. It was also necessary to specify whether there were any economic branches that had developed in Austria in recent years to the extent that it would be expedient to insert new national subclasses. Work on the structure of ÖNACE 2008 was concluded in May 2007.

The structure was approved by a written communication from Eurostat dated 3 July 2007 in accordance with EU Regulation No. 1893/2006 Article 4.

ÖNACE 2008 coding

Due to the more detailed nature of NACE Rev. 2, fewer national subclasses are required in ÖNACE 2008 than was previously the case. It is therefore no longer necessary to identify national subclasses by a two-digit code; a one-digit code is sufficient. As a result, the entire ÖNACE 2008 code now has only five digits rather than six digits as previously.

This modified form of coding also has the advantage that there can no longer be any confusion in future between ÖNACE 2008 and ÖNACE 2003 on the part of the user. This is all the more important since, in a number of cases, the same code denotes different contents in the two classifications. This problem has also been discussed at EU level, with member states being advised to introduce distinctions between old and new classifications at national level.

If a class is subdivided into several national subclasses and the last of these subclasses contains activities that could not be assigned to the corresponding subclasses (see, for example, the ending “not elsewhere classified”), this subclass has the number 9 as its fifth digit. The coding principle consistently adhered to in NACE Rev. 2 is thus also implemented in the national version.

Criteria for compiling national subclasses

In order to support the working group in their discussions, Statistics Austria proposed a number of criteria for compiling national subclasses:

  • The activity described by the national subclass must have a relevant importance measured by size criteria (such as the number of enterprises or employees) or other criteria (e.g. subdivision is expedient for National Accounts purposes).
  • A sufficient number of units should be able to be assigned to a national subclass to ensure that statistical confidentiality (in particular for regional representations) is not violated.
  • Regardless of the sheer number of units, statistical data should also be (potentially) available.
  • The meaningfulness of the subdivision should be established in accordance with the basic concepts of an activity classification.

Final number of items in ÖNACE 2008

Table 1: Number of items and coding in ÖNACE 2003 and ÖNACE 2008
 ÖNACE 2003ÖNACE 2008
Classification levelNumberCodingNumberCoding
Sections17A- Q21A- U
Subsections31AA- QA---
Divisions6201- 998801- 99
Groups22401.1- 99.027201.1- 99.0
Classes51401.11- 99.0061501.11- 99.00
Subclasses72201.11-00- 99.00-0070101.11-0- 99.00-0

Table 1 shows a comparison of the number of items and the coding in ÖNACE 2003 and ÖNACE 2008. The following can be seen in the table:

  • As of ÖNACE 2008, there is no longer a subsection level.
  • The number of classes has increased by 101 in ÖNACE 2008. This reflects the more detailed structure of NACE Rev. 2.
  • The number of national subclasses has decreased by 22. This is due to the fact that a number of subclasses have been deleted and also due to a large number of national subclasses now being found at class level.

Explanatory notes for ÖNACE 2008

After the common German explanatory notes were available, work has begun on the explanatory texts for ÖNACE 2008. The focus of this work will be on adapting the explanatory notes to subclass level and also on inserting any further texts required for better interpretation of the classification. In addition, ÖNACE 2003 already included a large number of supplementary explanatory texts which are to be transferred to ÖNACE 2008, provided that this is possible as far as content is concerned. The finalised explanatory notes of ÖNACE 2008 will are available in March 2008.

ÖNACE 2008 thesaurus

With respect to the thesaurus, the existing terms (approx. 22 000) will be subject to a critical review to establish whether they still correspond to current phraseology and whether they are applicable in their current form for the new NACE. Another objective is to include as many up-to-date terms and new activities as possible in the thesaurus, using, for example, existing thesauri for product classifications. It should also be mentioned that Eurostat is constantly receiving queries relating to the general interpretation of NACE Rev. 2 and to the basic classification of new activities. Wherever possible, external and internal experts are being asked to support the work on the thesaurus in certain areas.

The thesaurus of ÖNACE 2008, which contains more than 25.000 terms, is available in April 2008.