Only 19 percent of top executives at U.S. businesses are feeling optimistic about the health of the economy over the next 12 months, according to a quarterly survey by Grant Thornton, a huge decrease from the 50 percent who said they felt optimistic in the second quarter.

The findings reflect the growing financial uncertainty facing American businesses in the current economic recovery. While the decline in U.S. optimism was significant from the second to the third quarter of the year, it is still greater than in the rest of the world. In China, confidence decreased from 33 percent to 11 percent during the same time period. Even Germany experienced a drop in optimism from 40 percent in the second quarter to 28 percent in the third quarter.

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