Economic Report: Surprisingly strong vehicle sales in March boost U.S. economic outlook

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A Chevrolet dealership with a full lot of Chevy pickup trucks in Lexington, Kentucky.

Surprisingly strong auto sales for March are leading some economists to be more confident in their economic outlook after a rough start to the year.

Motor vehicle sales reached a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 17.45 million in March, up from 16.57 million in February, according to data from Autodata. That’s the highest reading in three months and represents a recovery from a downbeat start to the year. The MarketWatch-compiled consensus expectation was for a 16.8 million rate.

The sales were driven for a record month for light trucks.

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