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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

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

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Just over year before her untimely death on Friday, the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg appeared as a guest lecturer for the Clinton School of Public Service in Little Rock, AR with National Public Radio correspondent Nina Totenberg. The crowd that signed up to see "Notorious RBG" live was so large that the event had to be moved to a major sports arena – and they weren't disappointed by the wide-ranging, hour-long interview.

Witty, charming, brilliant, principled, Ginsburg represented the very best of American liberalism and modern feminism. Listen to her and you'll feel even more deeply what former President Bill Clinton says in his poignant introduction: "Only one of us in this room appointed her…but all of us hope that she will stay on that court forever."