Consumer spending rose 0.4 percent last month to $7.29 trillion after a 0.6 percent gain in February, the Commerce Department said.
Personal income also grew 0.4 percent in March to $8.92 trillion following a 0.6 percent increase a month earlier.
The gains in both spending and income matched the expectations of economists polled by Reuters.
Consumers, whose spending accounts for two-thirds of all economic activity in the United States, bought throughout the slump, preventing the economy from sinking deeper into recession last year.
As a result, there could be less pent-up demand coming out of the downturn, making for a less than sizzling rebound, Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan has said.
How the recovery ultimately shapes up will depend on the behavior of consumers and a turnaround in business investment spending, which dropped during the recession, economists say.
Spending on durables — such as cars and appliances — rose 0.5 percent in March, down from a 1.4 percent gain. For non-durable goods, such as food and clothing, spending edged up 0.2 percent, compared with a 0.4 percent increase the month before. Spending on services rose 0.5 percent, slightly less than the 0.6 percent increase in February.
The report also showed that disposable incomes — income after taxes — went up 0.5 percent in March, after a 0.7 percent gain.
Because disposable incomes increased more quickly than spending in March, the nation's personal savings rate, which is savings as a percentage of after-tax income, was lifted to 2.2 percent, the highest since September.
In an effort to rescue the economy from the grips of recession, the Federal Reserve slashed short-term interest rates 11 times last year. Citing signs of a rebound, the Fed opted to leave rates — now at 40-year low unchanged in January and March. Many economists believe the central bank will hold rates steady at its May 7 meeting and possibly into the summer.