WASHINGTON -- Manufacturing declined for the third straight month in August, according to a report released yesterday, but analysts said they expect the sector to start improving ever so slightly in the coming months.

The National Association of Purchasing Management reported that its purchasing managers' index slipped to 49.3% in August from 49.5% in July. This was the third sub-50% score in a row and the fourth out of the last five months, the association said.

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