Cohu Inc., the Poway maker of testing equipment for the semiconductor manufacturing industry, reported a third quarter net loss of $1.7 million, compared with a net profit of $3.4 million in the like quarter of last year.

For the nine months ended Sept. 30, Cohu reported a net loss of $7.1 million compared with a net profit of $15 million for the like period of 2011.

Revenue for the quarter was $57.7 million, down from $71.8 million in the third quarter of 2011. For the nine months, revenue was $170.4 million, down from $242 million for the same period last year.

Chairman and CEO James Donahue said orders and sales declined in the third quarter amid weak global economic conditions. “Uncertainty associated with the U.S. political environment and unfavorable macroeconomic factors continue to be headwinds for the semiconductor industry,” Donahue said.

Things haven’t gotten so bad that Cohu stopped paying dividends. Its board approved a quarterly cash dividend of 6 cents per share, payable Jan. 2 to shareholders of record on Nov. 23. The company has paid a quarterly cash dividend since 1977.

After reaching $14, shares of Cohu have been sliding for much of this year and closed Oct. 25 at $8.93 on the Nasdaq exchange, down 22 cents from the prior day’s closing price. Its 52-week range is $8.23 to $14.16.