Business optimism among U.S. business leaders has plummeted to its lowest level yet, according to a survey by Grant Thornton.

The firm's quarterly Business Optimism Index dropped to 35.6 in November 2008 from 57.3 in August 2008. The drastic drop pushed the index almost 20 points beneath the previous low of 54.7, setting a new record since the index's inception in 2002.

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