Consumer spending sharply up in March. Business optimism slips slightly, but remains strong.

A couple of new reports bring good news on the heels last week’s expectations-beating 3.2 percent GDP growth

Consumer spending in March was up sharply. The Associated Press reports,

U.S. consumer spending surged 0.9% in March, the biggest gain in nearly a decade, as inflation pressures remain non-existent.

The Commerce Department said Monday that the March gain was the biggest monthly increase since August 2009. That’s a marked improvement after three months of lackluster readings in this key segment of the economy. Consumer spending accounts for 70% of economic activity.

As AP reporter Martin Crutsinger writes, that bodes well for momentum in Q2.

Small business optimism dipped slightly in a survey conducted by Bank of America.

Forty-eight percent of the 1,504 owners surveyed predicted that the national economy will improve over the next year, down from 55% in the survey taken last fall. The drop in optimism extends to owners’ view of their local economies — 51% expect an improvement versus 54% in the previous survey.

In all, though, the survey still looks pretty solid to us. Especially this:

Sixty-seven percent of the owners Bank of America surveyed said they planned to expand their companies in the year ahead, down from 69% in a survey taken a year earlier. And 56% said they planned to expand over the next five years, down from 60% a year earlier.

The number of owners who plan to hire increased to 24% from 22% a year earlier.

Eventually, we know the remarkable growth we’ve seen will slow. But maybe not for a while, yet.