Our Accountants Confidence Index continues to straddle contraction, predicting a shrinking economy in the short term, and very, very, very modest growth in the mid-term.

The ACI, created in partnership with ADP, is a monthly economic indicator that leverages the insights of accountants into the strength and prospects of businesses in the U.S. Both the 3-Month and 6-Month ACI readings for this month declined from September, though only one remained below 50: The 3-Month ACI came in at 47.55, while the 6-Month dropped to 50.54.

A reading under 50 indicates that the panel expects a contraction.

The panelists lowered their forecasts for almost all the components of the index -- with the significant exception of their expectations for large companies, which they boosted in both the short- and the mid-term.

The ACI is created from a monthly poll of the Accounting Today Executive Research Council, an online community of more than 1,500 tax and accounting professionals, who are asked to provide their estimates of the growth prospects of their own firms, their small, midsized and large business clients, and of the U.S. economy as a whole. Their responses are weighted and averaged to produce the ACI.

For more, watch our Executive Summary for this month's ACI.