In the spring, when the COVID-19 pandemic first gathered steam in the U.S., businesses across the board were negatively impacted. Thankfully, third quarter financial results paint a much better picture — but it’s not the same recovery story for every company and industry.
For example, many large restaurant chains struggled earlier in the year when local lockdown restrictions began taking effect across the country. However, these businesses have focused their efforts on boosting delivery and drive-through sales, and they’ve been able to reverse their fortunes as a result.
The travel industry hasn’t seen the same turnaround. Some rental car companies have found success selling off used vehicles, but it’s unclear if that can be a long-term strategy. And airlines have seen dramatic losses throughout the year, including in the third quarter.
Mobility programs will of course be uniquely focused on airlines and other travel-related businesses, and it’s unclear when move volume will return to the levels these companies need to be profitable. While a struggling travel industry is concerning, the overall economic story is looking better, and the success of a number of larger companies points toward job growth and (hopefully) future mobility activity.
Perhaps most surprising: Some companies that had feared for their lives in the spring, among them some rental car businesses, restaurant chains and financial firms, are now doing fine — or even excelling. Wall Street analysts expect earnings to rebound to a record high next year. And, over all, 80 percent of companies in the S&P 500 stock index that have reported third-quarter earnings so far have exceeded analysts’ expectations, said Howard Silverblatt, senior index analyst for S&P Dow Jones Indices.