Optimism continued to decline among small business owners for the fifth straight quarter, according to a new survey.

The Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index dropped to 48 in April, the lowest level reported since the survey's inception in August 2003, when the score was 69. The most recent results represent a 35-point drop from the previous survey in January 2008, and a 66-point drop from the index's highest score in December 2006. The 35-point drop is the index's largest quarterly decrease to date.

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