Manufacturers' after-tax profits averaged 4.1 cents for every dollar of sales during the third quarter, down 0.6 cent from the second quarter, the Commerce Department reports.

During the third quarter, manufacturers reported after-tax profits of $29.3 billion, down 10.2 percent from the $32.6 billion earned in the previous quarter.After-tax profits rose slightly for makers of non-durable goods. Printing and petroleum companies posted increased profits, while makers of textiles, paper and rubber goods reported declines. Food and chemical company profits were unchanged.

Profits for makers of durable goods were down 40.4 percent, or $6.3 billion, during the third quarter from the second quarter, as all industry categories except electrical machinery posted declines. About 60 percent of the falloff came from makers of transportation equipment.

Manufacturers' sales rose 2.9 percent, or $19.9 billion, to $709.6 billion in the third quarter.

Sales for makers of non-durable goods rose primarily from a $12.8 billion increase in petroleum, 19.1 percent higher than the second quarter. Most other non-durable goods makers posted flat sales.

Sales among makers of durable goods, those big-ticket items designed to last more than three years, were down during the quarter. The government attributed the decline to an 11.1 percent, or $10.5 billion, drop in sales among makers of transportation equipment.