By John S. McClenahen After-tax profits for corporations were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $453.7 billion in the third calendar quarter of this year, 2.1% better than in the second quarter, reports the U.S. Commerce Department's Bureau of Economic Analysis. But a more detailed look at the data reveals the apparent difficulty many manufacturers and other U.S. companies continue to have in getting back on a satisfying growth track. For example, corporate profits from current production were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $770.9 billion in the third quarter, 1.8% less than the $785 billion rate of the second quarter. The internal funds that corporations have available for investment -- known as current-production cash flow -- also declined in the third quarter, although not quite as much as they did in the second quarter. At a seasonally adjusted annual rate, corporations had $954.5 billion available for investments in the third quarter, 1.3% less than they had in the second quarter. Domestic profits of U.S. nonfinancial corporations, adjusted for inventory valuation and capital consumption, were at a $451.5 billion annual rate in this year's third quarter, some $7.8 billion below the second quarter's $459.3 billion.