According to a WardsAuto forecast, U.S. auto sales are expected to gain 3.8% in March, compared to March, 2012. This increase is based on several economic factors, including data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, that show a rise in wages and spending in February. Unemployment also dipped to 7.7%, the lowest rate since December 2008. In addition, the Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index rose 11.2 points in February. Housing demand, an historical bellwether for the auto industry, also gained momentum in February.J.D. Power & Associates is also upbeat in its forecast. The company predicts U.S. industry sales of new cars and trucks should exceed 15.3 million, up from 14.4 million in 2012, with sales rising as high as 16.4 million by 2015.Finally, according to LMC Automotive, U.S. auto sales in March are expected to rise 8% and the annual sales pace should top 15 million for the fifth straight month. The auto industry continues its resurgence driven by continued pent-up demand for new vehicles and an economy that continues to improve.