GDP grows by 5 percent as US economy picks up strong pace

The economy grew at a 5 percent rate from July to September, the fastest pace in 11 years.

The strong growth recorded by the Commerce Department adds to the sense that the economy is approaching full speed for the first time since the recession of 2008 — and since President Obama was first elected.

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Consumer spending, government spending, exports and other investments helped the economy grow faster in the third quarter, the Bureau of Economic Analysis’s estimate said.

The government found consumer spending grew by 3.2 percent from July to September, compared to 2.5 percent in the previous quarter.

The Commerce Department also shifted its estimate for the second quarter, finding strong growth of 4.6 percent between April and June. That's up from its previous estimate of 3.9 percent.

"The strong GDP growth is consistent with a broad range of other indicators showing improvement in the labor market, increasing domestic energy security, and continued low health cost growth," Jason FurmanJason FurmanTrump looks for longer boost from economy US economy grew at 3.2 percent in first quarter, exceeding expectations The Hill's Morning Report - Dems contemplate big election and court reforms MORE, chairman of the president's Council of Economic Advisers, said in a statement. "The steps that we took early on to rescue our economy and rebuild it on a new foundation helped make 2014 already the strongest year for job growth since the 1990s."

The White House has been sounding more confident in recent weeks about the economy. The jobs report for November found more than 300,000 jobs were created for the month, and a big drop in gas prices is adding to consumer spending.

Just last week, the White House touted the economic gains made over the last year. Furman said U.S. businesses set a new record for the most consecutive months of job growth in 2014.

The unemployment rate has also dropped below 6 percent for the first time since 2008 when the recession hit. 

Estimates for the economy's fourth quarter are expected to come next year.