Business confidence in the U.S. declined in the fourth quarter of last year despite reports of increased opportunities for business, investment and employment, according to a new survey by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants and the Institute of Management Accountants.

The U.S. emerged as one of the least optimistic of the world’s major economies, according to the survey. Only 23 percent of U.S. respondents to the survey reported confidence gains in their own businesses in Q4—a drop from 25 percent in the previous quarter—while 35 percent reported losses, up from 31 percent. U.S. optimism about the state of the economy also fell 7 percent.

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