In the last month alone, exchange traded fund (ETF) providers have dished out more than a dozen small-cap funds in hopes that the historical tendency of small-caps to outperform in recoveries will continue to repeat itself.

For the last six months, small-caps have gained about 18%, leaving large-caps, which have gained about 10%, in the dust. It’s certainly easy to see the appeal of small-caps on the part of both providers and investors, and now there are more ways to play these stocks than ever before.

In the past month, fund providers PowerShares, Van Eck and IndexIQ have issued more than a dozen small-cap ETFs, and many of the new small-cap ETFs are focused on specific industries, allowing investors to pick and choose the most attractive areas of the markets, writes Cinthia Murphy for IndexUniverse. [Hot New ETF Trend: International Small-Caps]

Many believe the saying that small-caps lead the way out of a recession, and as of March 31, assets under U.S. small-cap ETFs had grown 87% year-over-year, compared to large-cap ETFs’ growth of 43% in the same period. The investors’ choice in small-cap ETFs have also eliminated single-company risk since the funds hold multiple stocks from a benchmark index.

Invesco PowerShares Managing Director and Global Head of ETFs Ben Fulton told us recently that PowerShares found that not only is outperformance typically seen in the first year of a recovery, but it tends to go on for at least another 36 months. “If past recessions and recoveries are any indication, we believe there’s a couple years left in comparison to large-caps,” says Fulton.