Manufacturing continues expansion in March

Of the 18 industries included in the survey, 15 are experiencing overall growth. 

Comments from the panel remain positive, with several respondents citing increased sales and demand for the next few months.

Consumer spending was up 0.8 percent last month, the biggest increase since July as Americans spend more and the labor market continues to improve, the Commerce Department said Friday.

Car purchases are helping to boost manufacturing, and businesses picked up orders of durable goods, which are longer-lasting and include machinery and computers, by 2.2 percent in February, after they fell sharply in January. 

Economic growth improved to 3 percent in the fourth quarter, up from 1.8 percent. Economists have said that growth may have dropped off in the first three months of the year as businesses are slower to restock their inventories.