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Washington (AFP) – U.S. growth surged to its highest level in 11 years in the third quarter, according to an updated government estimate released Tuesday.

Gross domestic product (GDP) increased five percent between July and September in the Commerce Department’s third estimate for the period, up from the 3.9 percent previously estimated.

Analysts had expected growth of 4.3 percent.

Tuesday’s figures built on the momentum from the second quarter, when growth came in at 4.6 percent.

The U.S. economy contracted 2.1 percent in the first quarter of 2014, a weak result mainly attributed to the abnormally cold winter, but has since recovered strongly.

Spending for consumption rose 3.2 percent, the biggest jump since the end of 2013. Consumption of goods rose 4.7 percent, while spending on services gained 2.5 percent.

The updated figures come on the heels of a strong November jobs report, which showed the U.S. economy adding 321,000 jobs.

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen last week said the U.S. economy is improving steadily, but said the labor market still needs to strengthen and signaled that interest rates would remain low for months.

AFP Photo/Paul J. Richards

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Deputy Assistant Attorney General Pamela Karlan

Reprinted with permission from AlterNet

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