The U.S. economy has proven surprisingly resilient in the face of tax increases that took effect in January and federal budget cuts that began to kick in March 1.
The government reported Friday that U.S. consumers increased spending in February as their incomes jumped. The University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index showed that Americans were feeling more confident about the economy at the end of March.
Underlying the improvement is a strengthening job market. Employers have been adding 200,000 jobs a month since November, twice the pace from last spring. Unemployment fell in February to 7.7 percent, lowest since December 2008.
Economists expect about the same level of job growth in March.