The rally in the broader U.S. stock market has taken a breather in recent weeks, mirroring a slowdown in the recovery of one of the sectors hardest hit by the pandemic — air travel.
The S&P 500 closed at 3,232 on June 8, but then sold off later that week and has been slowly climbing back since. This has left the broad market index hovering just below its break-even level for the year.
At the same time, the rate of growth in travelers going through airports checkpoints run by the Transportation Security Administration has slowed. Over the past week, the number of travelers has been between 20% and 30% of those on the comparable day last year.
Between early May and early June, the number of passengers more than doubled from around 150,000 per day to around 400,000 per day. More than a month later, the number has failed to double again and cross the 800,000 level, even with a spike around the Fourth of July.
The tepid recovery for air travel has some airlines calling for another multibillion-dollar relief package for the industry from the federal government. American Airlines announced warned 25,000 of its employees that they were at risk of being laid off when the moratorium imposed by the government ends on Oct. 1.