The U.S. economy grew at a faster pace in the third quarter with the first gross domestic product estimate for the period hitting 2%, according to the Department of Commerce-Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Gross domestic product – measures the output of goods and services – and is a key economic indicator that reflects the general health of the economy.

That estimate is slightly better than the average analyst estimate of 1.9% growth for the quarter as reported by Reuters news. It's also improved from the second quarter when the economy slowed to real GDP growth of 1.3%. Analysts at Goldman Sachs (GS), however, reported growth of 2.1% and remain optimistic about the fourth quarter.

"We continue to expect 2% growth in Q4," they said in research emailed to clients last night. "While the improved data flow in recent weeks and the supportive level of financial conditions might point to stronger growth, we worry more about the downside risks associated with capital spending."

Still, this is only an initial estimate based on incomplete data and is subject to revision.

The Department of Commerce attributes third-quarter economic growth to residential fixed investments, personal consumption expenditures and federal government spending.

Imports, which generally take away from GDP, fell during the period.