Jul 4, 2021 - Economy & Business

It's July 4 and America's back

Illustration of an open door revealing fireworks
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Americans may have fallen short of President Biden's July 4 vaccination goal, but by most measures, we should be thankful for how far we've come in the past year.

The big picture: Last July 4, many Americans were hunkering down in their backyards with small cookouts, and travel was way down. This year, most adults have at least some vaccine protection, travel is back up, and most Americans are ready to move on with their lives.

By the numbers: As of Saturday, 67% of U.S. adults have gotten at least one vaccine dose, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

  • That's not 70%, which was Biden's July 4 goal. But do you know how many adults were vaccinated last July 4? Zero.
  • When you count Americans 12 and older — including the 12-to-15-year-olds who are now eligible for the vaccine — 64.1% have gotten at least one shot.
  • As of Saturday, the U.S. averaged about 12,500 new COVID cases per day over the past week, according to CDC — down from a weekly average of nearly 49,000 last July 4.

And Americans are ready to move on. Compare the polling from our Axios-Ipsos Coronavirus Index, now and a year ago, on whether people would consider it a risk to return to their pre-coronavirus lives:

June 26-29, 2020:

  • Large to moderate risk: 70%
  • Small to no risk: 29%

June 25-28, 2021:

  • Large to moderate risk: 28%
  • Small to no risk: 72%

They're going back to work, with 850,000 jobs added in June — better than expected — and average hourly earnings on the rise, per Axios' Courtenay Brown and Felix Salmon.

And they're hitting the roads again. July 4 travel is almost back to its pre-pandemic levels, with overall travel projected to be just 2.5% lower than in 2019, according to AAA.

  • Car travel alone is expected to set a new record, with 43.6 million Americans hitting the roads, 5% more than the previous record, set in 2019. (It had dropped to 32.5 million during last year's July 4 weekend.)
  • Air travel hasn't quite bounced back: 3.5 million Americans are expected to fly during the holidays, down about 10% from 2019. (Just 1.3 million Americans flew at this time last year.)
  • Airbnb says searches for its U.S. beachfront rentals over the July 4 weekend increased by 127 percent in the last month.

Americans' July 4 cookout costs should be about the same as last year or even a little lower, with the average cost of a cookout for 10 people dropping by 16 cents since last year, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation.

  • Strawberries have gotten more expensive since last year (the price has jumped 22%). But you know what has gotten a little cheaper? Ground beef (the price has dropped 8%).
  • And there could be more fireworks this year: Fireworks imports were up 51% over last year in the three months leading up to May 31, according to Panjiva, the supply chain research unit of S&P Global Market Intelligence.

Go deeper:

Axios-Ipsos poll: Vaccine puts the sparks back in July 4

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