For the first time, the US Census Bureau has an accurate way of counting lasers. Until now, the bureau categorized lasers with numerous unrelated electronic devices. At the urging of several groups, including the Lasers and Electro-Optics Manufacturers' Association (LEOMA) in Pacifica, Calif., and the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Gaithersburg, Md., the agency has adopted a classification system that identifies industries by a six-digit code. This code, which accommodates 350 more industries than the previous system, will make its appearance next year in the 1997 Economic Census Advance Report. "Under the old [Standard Industrial Classification] system, we really couldn't extract meaningful data on lasers," said Breck Hitz, LEOMA's director. The new coding also provides information on the number of lasers sold by type.