Employment in the Haines Borough has rallied from its mid-pandemic low but still is short of pre-pandemic levels, according to state data and an economic analysis released last week.

The borough’s workforce grew by about 5% and wages grew by about 9% between 2020 and 2021. Still, employment was down 21% last year compared to 2019, according to an analysis by Juneau-based research firm Rain Coast Data.

Unemployment in Haines was at 6.6% in July, down from 17.8% in 2020 but higher than 4.4% in 2019, according to Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development data.

Of 16 communities in Southeast Alaska, only Skagway and Hyder had bigger drops in employment than Haines between 2019 and 2021, the Rain Coast Data report showed. The firm put together the analysis for Southeast Conference and released it at the organization’s annual meeting in Ketchikan last week.

Generally, the report highlighted a regional economy on the rebound.“It is impossible to imagine a better year-over-year economic report than 2020 to 2021, due to the devastating economic conditions of 2020,” Rain Coast Data’s Meilani Schijvens wrote in the report.

About 147 million more pounds of seafood were landed in the region in 2021 than in 2020, and salmon harvest numbers are up region-wide in 2022. Tourism has largely bounced back, too, and the report says the number of mining and construction jobs have increased by 7% and 5% respectively this year.

But Southeast’s timber industry hit a record low at 312 jobs, down from 3,543 at the industry’s 1991 peak. “These have not been good years for the regional timber industry,” the report says.

The report identifies a few key challenges for the future of Southeast’s economy: a decline in state jobs — by 170 in 2022 and by 1,340, or 24%, in the past decade — as well as a competitive national labor market and housing shortages.

The report notes that 38% of surveyed Haines business owners consider housing availability to be a “significant barrier,” and the same percentage consider it a “moderate barrier.”

The report, titled “Southeast Alaska by the Numbers 2022,” can be found at raincoastdata.com/portfolio.