GE Capital has released a national survey of middle-market trucking company executives examining the financial performance, operational issues and economic outlook of trucking businesses.

The survey had several key findings including a trend toward growth in employment, customers and the industry as a whole. It also revealed key challenges facing the industry, including retaining employees and new regulations.

According to surveyed executives, the majority of firms plan to add more new equipment in the coming year than they did in the previous 12 months. Nearly two-thirds plan to finance the new equipment with a loan.

There is a greater sense of optimism in the trucking industry about both the local and national economy. More than half of the firms surveyed expect to add jobs with employment in the sector projected to grow by an average of 5.4% year-over-year. Half of the business leaders also believe the industry will expand in the coming year.

The survey also found key issues with nearly three-quarters of trucking firms expressing concern about the hours of service regulations. One in five executives were also concerned about CSA and reauthorization of the highway bill.

Also of significant importance to the industry are staffing and recruitment issues surrounding keeping qualified employees. The executives expect it to remain a challenge in the future with more than half of firms expecting to increase employment in the next 12 months.

Fluctuations in oil and gas prices as well as commodity costs are also a concern for many in the trucking industry.

For more information on trucking from GE Capital, click here.