Optimism about their companies' financial futures is at an all-time low for Utah business leaders, according to the Zions Bank Utah Quarterly Economic Forecast issued Thursday.

On a scale of 1 (being very pessimistic) to 10 (being very optimistic), local business leaders surveyed offered a mean score of 6.68 in the first quarter of 2008, the first time the score has dropped below 7.

The score is driven by concern over gasoline prices, utility costs, the impact of inflation, inventory and supplies costs, and the ability to compete in the marketplace.

The eighth quarterly report is based on research conducted by Dan Jones & Associates for Zions Bank. In 2006, 1,169 business executives were recruited for the study panel and to complete quarterly surveys. The research aims to gauge the health of Utah's economic landscape and show marketplace trends.

"Feelings about the economy are increasingly uneasy out there, as the study shows," Dan Jones & Associates co-owner Pat Jones said in a prepared statement.

Just 15 percent of panelists said their outlook was very optimistic. Twice as many said the same in the second quarter of 2006.