American consumers, who kept shopping through rising fuel costs and delayed tax refunds, will probably continue buoying the economy as these hurdles dissipate.
"Headwinds in February were temporary," said Neil Dutta, head of U.S. economics at Renaissance Macro Research LLC in New York. "They are going to be tailwinds in March."
After reaching a four-month high in February, gasoline prices have retreated in March, a time when they typically rise. Cash returns from the Internal Revenue Service, held up when an agreement to avert the so-called fiscal cliff came at the last minute, have almost caught up to last year's pace.
Economists are boosting spending estimates, with retailers saying sales are picking up. Employment gains, the drop in energy costs, rising stock prices and reduced debt mean households have the wherewithal to overcome a payroll tax increase that took an additional 2 percent out of take-home pay this year, Bloomberg said. Read more.