The chief financial officers of middle-market companies surveyed by GE Capital are more positive about the current state of their industry and the economy than they were six months earlier, but many are concerned about fuel price volatility and changes in the hours of service rules.

In the third quarter of 2012, GE Capital surveyed the CFOs of 500 U.S. middle-market companies across seven distinct industries. Transportation respondents have revenues of $13 million and have an employee count of 84, on average. Unless otherwise noted, data comparisons are being made to the last wave of the GE Capital Mid-Market CFO Survey executed in the first quarter.

Current sentiment - Transportation CFOs are more positive about the current state of their industry, the U.S. economy and the global economy.

Economic growth - 82% say the U.S. economy will grow or stay the same over the next 12 months, a decrease of 10 points.

Company growth - 82% of CFOs expect limited to moderate company growth over the next 12 months, down 2 points.

Revenues - 44% expect their company's revenues to increase this year compared to last year, down 26 points. 38% percent expect revenues to remain the same, up 15 points.

Cost structure - Transportation CFOs (65%) have the highest expectations across all industries of increasing cost structure (up 5 points).

Business concerns - Transportation and healthcare CFOs lead all industries (87%) regarding concerns about the impact healthcare costs will have on their business over the next 12 months.

Pricing - Transportation CFOs lead all industries in their plans to raise prices (56%).

Hiring - 79% expect to hire in the next 12 months, the most bullish of all industries.

Equipment - Transportation CFOs lead all industries considering plans for financing for equipment (67%, down 1 point).

Credit availability - Transportation CFOs experienced the largest increase in credit availability across all industries (35% cite an increase, up 12 points).

Questions asked only of transportation respondents:

Concerns - 58% percent are most concerned about the impact fuel price volatility will have on their business (down nine points), followed by 56% who are most concerned about the impact of safety/truck accidents.

Regulations - When it comes to the impact of regulations on their business, 52% say they are most concerned about hours of service rules, followed by 37% who are most concerned about safety rules.

Business opportunities - In 2012, the greatest business opportunities are increasing average revenue per loaded mile (68%, up nine points) and increasing tonnage volume from existing customers (62%, up five points).